India’s Trust On WhatsApp May Have Fallen To An All Time Low

WhatsApp plans to enforce its new policy from May 2021 and many users are reconsidering using the platform after that.

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WhatsApp

WhatsApp may be the world’s largest messaging platform, but it hasn’t had the best start to 2021. The company’s new privacy policy has angered many and may finally be doing harm to the platform’s user base, especially in India, which accounts for its largest user base. Reports by Cybermedia Research (CMR) and LocalCircles suggest that a large number of users are reconsidering using the platform. CMR’s study said 79% of the 1500 surveyed individuals said they are reconsidering the platform. In Local Circles’ study, 5% of the over 17000 surveyed individuals said they had already deleted the app, while 75% users said they will never be using business chats and payments on WhatsApp. A third study, by market research firm BMNxt, said 82% of its 565 respondents disapproved of WhatsApp’s move.

The responses in Local Circles’ study could especially be alarming for WhatsApp, since Business Chats and Payments are integral to its monetization strategy. The company was allowed to roll out its UPI-based payments feature, WhatsApp Pay to 20 million users in India late last year, after being embroiled in legal battles for a long time. If users openly abandon WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Pay, it could also discourage businesses and partners from using the platform.

According to the CMR Survey, 41% users are planning to shift to Telegram, while 35% want to move to Signal. LocalCircle’s survey said 21% have already downloaded and are actively using other apps. Telegram and Signal have received millions of new downloads in under three weeks since WhatsApp announced its new terms and conditions. The two apps have essentially gone viral, with Signal amassing as many as 26.4 million new downloads in the two weeks since WhatsApp’s announcement. 

At the moment, the Indian government has directed WhatsApp to withdraw its new policy, though the app hasn’t said it will do so. Instead, WhatsApp said it would be clearing misinformation amongst users and reiterated that the new policy doesn’t expand its capabilities to share data with Facebook. The company has also said that the new privacy policy doesn’t affect WhatsApp Pay and UPI transaction history will never be shared with Facebook.

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