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Setback for Meta as Delhi High Court allows CCI to probe WhatsApp and Facebook

business | IST

Setback for Meta as Delhi High Court allows CCI to probe WhatsApp and Facebook

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The Delhi High Court has upheld the single judge bench order which ruled that CCI has the jurisdiction to proceed with the probe against Facebook and WhatsApp.

The Delhi High Court has rejected the pleas filed by WhatsApp and Facebook to stop the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from probing them regarding a 2021 privacy policy update. The competition commission can now continue to probe the social media platforms.

The Delhi High Court has upheld the single judge bench order, which ruled that CCI has the jurisdiction to proceed with the probe.
In the January of 2021, WhatsApp introduced a revised privacy policy. In March of that year, CCI took cognisance and initiated a probe on possible abuse of a dominant position.
Facebook and WhatsApp challenged this, but a single judge bench of the court rejected this plea in June 2021. The social media giants then urged the court to relook this, and a vacation bench was formed.
What the CCI has said till now
The CCI has argued that it was not examining the alleged violation of individuals' privacy which was being looked into by the Supreme Court. It had been argued before the court that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp would lead to excessive data collection and "stalking" of consumers for targeted advertising to bring in more users and is, therefore, alleged abuse of dominant position.
The CCI also contended that the data collected, which would include an individual's location, the kind of device used, their internet service provider and whom they are conversing with, would lead to the creation of a customer profile and preference which would be monetised by way of targeted advertising and all this amounts to "stalking".
Facebook and WhatsApp's arguments till now
The social media platforms contended that when the Supreme Court was already looking into the privacy policy, CCI ought not to have "jumped the gun" and intervened in the issue. They had also said that CCI's decision was an abuse of the commission's suo motu jurisdiction.
They had claimed that the CCI in the instant case had "drifted far away" from the competition aspect and was looking into privacy issues which were already being looked into by the apex court. 
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