Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for the Commission, submitted that repeated attempts have been made by the social media giant Facebook and its subsidiary company WhatsApp to stall the investigation process.
The Bench extended the time period for filing reply to June 4 and June 8 notices issued by the CCI upon WhatsApp and Facebook, respectively, till next date of hearing; and slated the matter for further hearing on October 11, 2021.
WhatsApp was represented by Senior Counsel Harish Salve, while Facebook Inc. was represented by Senior Counsel Mukul Rohatgi.
WhatsApp claimed its 2021 update does not expand the platform’s ability to share data with Facebook and in no manner impact the privacy of personal messages of the WhatsApp users. It further asserted that it’s new policy aimed at providing users with further transparency about how WhatsApp collects, uses and shares data.
CCI claimed that the investigation aims at examining whether the excessive data collection by WhatsApp and the use of the same has any anti-competitive implications.
The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla, dismissed the petitions, while observing that the order passed by the Commission is purely administrative in nature, meant only to form a prima facie opinion for directing an investigation. The Court held that order passed by the Commission was within the jurisdiction of the powers vested in it under the Competition Commission Act.