For WhatsApp, with over 1.5 billion active users, India serves as the biggest market. In the current scenario, it is impossible to imagine life without this instant messaging service. But, WhatsApp’s Head of Communications, Carl Woog has hinted at a shocking possibility where the Facebook-owned app may cease to exist in its current form. In a conversation with IANS, Woog said that some of the proposed government regulations for social media companies like WhatsApp operating in India are threatening its very existence.
He said that biggest concern for WhatsApp right now is the emphasis on traceability of messages. The proposed changes are going overboard and are not consistent with strong privacy protections that people around the world are seeking,” said Woog, who served as the Spokesperson for the Barack Obama administration in the US.
Whatsapp currently offers end-to-end encryption by default which means only the sender and the recipient can see the messages in circulation. This means that not even WhatsApp can track these messages. Woog explained that without this feature WhatsApp will be a completely new product.
“Given the end-to-end encryption we have in place, the regulations will require us to re-architect our product,” he said, adding that in such a scenario, WhatsApp messaging service would cease to exist in its current form. Asked whether the company could consider quitting the Indian market, Woog did not deny the possibility but added, “It will not help to speculate what is to come. There is a process in place in India to discuss this issue.”
These statements from Whatsapp come amid rising pressure from the IT Ministry which has proposed new regulations that require social media platforms to follow a due diligence process to prevent the use of their services for spreading misinformation and provoking violence.
Last year, Whatsapp had introduced several new features including limiting the number of messages that a user can forward to five and appointing for the first time a country head for the organisation in an effort to fight fake news. Whatsapp thereafter, took the campaign global.