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Consumer privacy influencing product rollouts: Facebook

Facing ire from the government, stakeholders, and civil society, Facebook had to rollback its ambitious Free Basics in India.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Oct 16, 2019, 05.51 PM IST
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NEW DELHI: Social media giant Facebook Tuesday said that the company, over the last couple of years has transformed, and embraced privacy that was actually influencing new product launches.

"Privacy is something that we have already embraced and influencing how we think about products and product rollouts," Facebook India managing director Ajit Mohan said and added that in the last couple of years, the company has fundamentally transformed.

"We have seen the opportunity and taking leadership on privacy, and have been quite vocal as we see the future oriented around privacy," the top executive of the US-based social networking company said.

Facing ire from the government, stakeholders, and civil society, Facebook had to rollback its ambitious Free Basics in India that violates the tenets of net neutrality.

Mark Zuckerberg-headed firm, however, sees India as a huge market with an apparent digital divide giving more headroom for Internet penetration.

Mohan said that the perspective has changed with Internet deployment without a lot of operating rules including data and privacy to a more firm view now.

"Now we encourage the articulation of what new Internet rules of the internet should be. This conversation is very real within the company," the executive added.

India's telecom regulator, after a tussle with the multinational, has finally in 2016, curtailed Free Basics together with other zero-rated services, and has come out with a comprehensive net neutrality laws that discourage Internet blocking and priority access.

Mohan said that with inverted regulation, the firm has been benefitted from greater clarity on the new privacy rules.

"In the last few years, we had a few learning and we have scaled up dramatically. Consumers have also shown evolved behaviour and are setting up disruptive models," the top executive added.

"We are excited about the opportunities such as WhatsApp payment which is fundamentally exploding while sister financial products can come along with it," Mohan added.

Data compliance issues have apparently delayed WhatsApp Pay in India.

Meanwhile, the National Payments Corporation said that once the social media app becomes data localisation compliant over the next two months, it could launch its much-awaited payments service in the country.

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