WhatsApp Vice President Chris Daniels on Wednesday said the company is focussed on values like security and privacy to ensure that its product remains a utility that helps users communicate in everyday life. The Facebook-owned company, which has been asked by the Indian government to put in place a mechanism to clamp down fake messages on its platform, also announced its partnership with Invest India to help entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises expand their businesses. “…we keep the company focused on four values — simplicity, quality, security and privacy. Everything we do in the company focusses on those values and delivering that value to users and ensuring that our product remains a utility that they can use to communicate in everyday life,” Daniels said here.
Out of WhatsApp user base of 1.3 billion people, more than 200 million people are in India — the single largest market for the popular messaging platform. The government has been pushing WhatsApp to find a technology solution to trace the origin of ‘sinister’ messages, a move that it believes can help curb horrific crimes like mob-lynching emanating from fake news.
WhatsApp, however, had rejected India’s demand for a solution to track the origin of messages on its platform, saying building traceability will undermine end-to-end encryption and affect privacy protection for users.
Emphasising that people use its platform for all kinds of “sensitive conversations“, the US-based firm had said it is focussing on educating people about misinformation. Speaking about the startup ecosystem in India, Daniels said companies like Ola, Flipkart, Zomato and MakeMyTrip are making a huge impact on the Indian economy.
“We are extremely impressed by the entrepreneurial tradition in India as well as by companies that we see coming out…We believe in people, we believe in creativity, we believe in entrepreneurship,” he said.
The partnership with Invest India will help WhatsApp in driving awareness about its business tools in around 15 states impacting over 60,000 businesses in the coming months through tools such as Startup India ‘Yatra’ programme and other in-person training events.
WhatsApp will invest USD 250,000 as seed funding to the top 5 winners of the ‘WhatsApp StartUp Challenge’ and an additional USD 250,000 will be directed to a select few from the entrepreneurial community to promote their WhatsApp business number on Facebook and drive discovery of their businesses. “India adds over three new startups a day, ranking it amongst the top startup nations in the world… Through this partnership with WhatsApp, we aim to support the innovative startups in India and to create solutions not only for India but the entire world,” Deepak Bagla, CEO and MD at Invest India, said.
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Secretary Ramesh Abhishek said DIPP is working with the tax department and regulators to ease the rules and laws for startups to support budding entrepreneurs. He added that easing processes and norms are the biggest agenda for the department so that it supports the growth of startups.