Delhi High Court Dismisses Appeals Of WhatsApp, Facebook Against CCI Investigation

Delhi High Court Dismisses Appeals Of WhatsApp, Facebook Against CCI Investigation

The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed the appeals of WhatsApp and Facebook against an order rejecting the challenge of the social media platforms to a probe ordered by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) into the messaging platform’s updated privacy policy of 2021, the PTI said.

According to the report, a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said the single-bench judge’s order was well-reasoned and the appeals are devoid of merits.

In April last year, a single judge of Delhi High Court had refused to interdict the investigation directed by the CCI on the petitions moved by WhatsApp LLC and Facebook Inc, now Meta platforms.

The CCI, in January last year, on its own had decided to look into WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy based on news reports regarding the same.

The report mentioned that WhatsApp argued before the division bench that the CCI cannot probe a policy that has now been kept in abeyance to await the fate of the Data Protection Bill and as well as the decision of the Supreme Court and the high court on issues concerning the legality of the privacy policy.

Facebook argued that there was not even prima facie material in the case against it and the CCI cannot investigate it in a “creeping fashion”.

However, the CCI, contended that its probe into the new privacy policy should be allowed to proceed as the policy has not been withdrawn and the scope of its inquiry has no overlap with the Supreme Court proceedings which pertain to issues of an alleged infringement of user privacy.

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The anti-trust regulator said that its investigation concerned WhatsApp’s anti-competitive sharing of user data with Facebook and not the issues concerning privacy law and judicial process cannot be used to thwart the probe.

It also defended the initiation of a probe against Facebook as well in connection with WhatsApp’s privacy policy, saying that the former is the holding company of the messaging platform and it can “potentially exploit the data being shared” Before the single judge, WhatsApp and Facebook had challenged CCI’s March 2021 order directing a probe against them.