WhatsApp, its parent Facebook and tech rivals have all invested heavily in India. But company officials worry privately that increasingly heavy-handed regulation by the Modi government could jeopardize those prospects.
Among the new rules are requirements that big social media firms appoint Indian citizens to key compliance roles, remove content within 36 hours of a legal order, and set up a mechanism to respond to complaints. They must also use automated processes to take down pornography.
According to the company, end-to-end encryption was designed to help ensure that nobody other than the person you are talking to can know that you sent a particular message and this is the exact opposite of traceability, which would reveal who sent what to whom.
Notably, the rules require significant social media intermediaries — providing services primarily in the nature of messaging — to enable identification of the “first originator” of the information that undermines sovereignty of India, security of the state, or public order.
This could have major ramifications for players like Twitter and WhatsApp.