After facing severe backlash, the WhatsApp messaging app on Friday began rolling out a new “tap to review” banner on the top of its chat box in India for users to read and understand its policy update.
Indian netizens have reacted to the development, saying that the app, instead of revoking questionable “mandatory” policies, is forcing its update in India because the country, as of now, does not have a concrete data protection law in place like other regions, such as Europe.
While India is working on the framework of data protection laws to safeguard the information of Indians from being exploited by tech giants, the Modi government is also pushing for Made-in-India alternatives to Twitter and WhatsApp in the country.
In recent days, an India-made Twitter rival called “Koo” has gained over 900,000 users, including government officials, ministers, as well as celebrities joining the platform.
The government is also beta testing an indigenous WhatsApp alternative called “Sandes” – which will first roll out among government officials and will then be made available to the others.
The trend of replacing foreign apps with home-grown ones further gained momentum in India after the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that it is working on replacing Google Maps in India with the country’s own map app in the coming months.
In addition, the government is also working on launching a national website for user-complaints on cyber issues as a step forward towards tightening social media moderation in the country.