The Competition Commission of India is looking into allegations that Facebook Inc.-owned online messaging app, WhatsApp, is abusing its dominant positing by offering digital payment service to its 400 million user base, reports stated.
A Reuters report quoted its sources as saying that the case is based on a complaint filed in mid-March that alleged that Facebook’s online messaging service was bundling its digital payment facility within its messaging app.
The report further lays out the detailed info of the allegations made against WhatsApp. It says that the combination of WhatsApp’s messenger service and its payments feature could harm competition and violate the country’s antitrust laws.
The complaint comes at a time when WhatsApp is going through a critical phase as it is aggressively working to fully launch its payments platform in India.
With this latest complaint, the CCI can now direct its investigation arm to conduct a wider probe on the company, or dump the case if it finds no merit in
However, it is possible for WhatsApp to escape the wider investigation as the extent of its market abuse will be cleared only if it fully launches its payment service, the report quoted its source as saying.
A similar complaint was filed by an Indian legal think-tank in April in the Supreme Court saying that WhatsApp should not be allowed to go ahead with the payment service scheme as it was violating its data storage rules.
Recently on May 13, WhatsApp Inc told the apex court that it will not go ahead with its payment service scheme without complying with all the regulations that are in force in India. After which the top court asked Indian regulators to submit its views on the matter.
In April, Facebook Inc. announced to invest Rs 43,574 crore in exchange of 9.99 per cent stake in billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s digital unit that houses India’s youngest but biggest telecom firm, Reliance Jio.