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Is WhatsApp abusing market power through its privacy policy? Here’s what the NCLAT ruled

NCLAT upheld the Competition Commission of India’s 2017 verdict clearing WhatsApp of abusing market dominance through its privacy policy

On August 2nd, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) upheld the Competition Commision of India’s (CCI) 2017 verdict that WhatsApp was not abusing its market dominance in India through its new privacy policy.  The NCLAT Judgment follows the NGO Fight for Transparency Society's appeal against the CCI's decision on its 2017 petition. In the 2017 ruling, the CCI held that while ‘Whatsapp is dominant [in the communication apps market], it is not abusing its dominant position [by introducing the policy]’—a stance that Justice M. Venugopal (judicial member) and Dr. Ashok Kumar Mishra (technical member) of the NCLAT agreed with.  ‘The Appellant has failed to prove that the Opposite party/Respondent is abusing its dominant position in the relevant market by introducing privacy policy which compels its users to share their account details and other information with Facebook as the Respondent has provided the users opt out of sharing user accounts information with Facebook within 30 days of agreeing to the updated of service and privacy policy,’ last week's NCLAT judgment stated.  Why it matters: The NCLAT Judgment may bolster WhatsApp's claims that its privacy policies are not shaped by anti-competitive practices in the Indian app-based communication market. The Delhi High Court also agreed to consider the verdict on August 4th, as it deliberates on WhatsApp's ongoing appeal to the merits of a 2021 CCI antitrust probe into a separate privacy policy it released that year. The Delhi High Court first dismissed WhatsApp and Facebook’s challenges to the investigation last April. The High Court’s Judgment…

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