India may investigate Facebook-WhatsApp deal

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Facebook’s recent WhatsApp acquisition is on Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) radar and the government agency is likely to investigate the deal considering the number of Indians using both the services.

Like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in US CCI is responsible for approving merger and acquisition deals in India. According to a CCI official the Commission is yet to receive an application from Facebook seeking approval, but the official said that the deal will likely be facing an elaborate scrutiny.

It is estimated that Facebook has over 93 million active India users while over 40 million WhatsApp users are from India.

The $19 billion deal has already raised red flags and privacy groups are already requesting trade commissions of US and EU to investigate the deal keeping in mind the privacy of users. Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) have asked the US FTC to hold the deal until privacy concerns are worked out.

Through a complaint both the privacy advocacy groups claim: WhatsApp has a “strong commitment to user privacy,” whereas Facebook’s current service compiles “virtually all available user data.”

Facebook has already said that there will be no change post the acquisition and WhatsApp will continue functioning as an independent unit.