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Payments not impacting WhatsApp's other India plans: Sources

At the Reliance annual general meeting, Reliance announced that JioPhone users will get access to apps like WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube by August 15.

, ET Bureau|
Jul 17, 2018, 10.18 PM IST
WhatsApp's payment plans have hit a roadblock in India following data privacy issues but sources familiar with the company's product development plans said it is not a ‘blocker’ for any of its other India plans and that they are progressing as expected. Sources said the company is actively working on its business products like WhatsApp Business and new features like group calling, stickers, and the JioPhone app and that separate teams are working on its payments and business products for India.

Speculation has been rife in the industry that the enterprise level notification integration for businesses in India-or the WhatsApp notification message features for companies is not being actively promoted by WhatsApp because of WhatsApp Payments, which was being considered as the priority and key focus area of the company this year. WhatsApp did not respond to queries sent by ET.

Sources said besides its digital literacy campaign launched last week and collaborations with researchers and academics and the forward message indicator to curb fake news, it is working with fact checkers and the local police in India.

A week ago, WhatsApp announced that it is launching the forward message indicator to indicate which message consumers receive have been forwarded to them. To see this new forwarded label, users need to have the latest supported version of WhatsApp on their phones.

WhatsApp had said this extra context will help make one on one and group chats easier to follow and it will help users determine if their friend or relative wrote the message they sent it or if it originally came from someone else. WhatsApp had also announced its research awards for social science and misinformation for researchers and academics who are interested in exploring areas related to misinformation on the platform.

At the Reliance annual general meeting, Reliance announced that JioPhone users will get access to apps like WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube by August 15.

In its letter written to the Indian government on steps taken by it on rumours spread via the app, WhatsApp had said it had launched new protection measures in mid May to prevent people from adding others back into groups which they had left and a new setting that enables administrators to decide who gets to send messages within individual groups besides mentioning the forward message indicator feature and the social science and misinformation awards.

The company had also said it plans to run long term public safety ad campaigns in India and that it will publish new educational materials around misinformation and conduct news literacy workshops.

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