WhatsApp noted that its recent policy update does not change the privacy of people's personal messages, and it has already written to the government, seeking to assure the privacy of users remains its highest priority.
The spokesperson said the messaging platform will not limit the "functionality of how WhatsApp works in the coming weeks," adding that it will instead continue to "remind users from time to time about the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook."
"We hope this approach reinforces the choice that all users have whether or not they want to interact with a business. We will maintain this approach until at least the forthcoming PDP law comes into effect," WhatsApp's spokesperson concluded.
WhatsApp - which has 53 crore users in India as per the government data - had faced severe backlash over user concerns that data was being shared with parent company Facebook.
Interestingly, the new rules for social media companies have also come into effect from May 26 that mandate large platforms like Facebook and Twitter to undertake greater due diligence and make these digital platforms more accountable and responsible for the content hosted by them.
The rules also require social media intermediaries - providing services primarily in the nature of messaging - to enable identification of the "first originator" of the information that undermines the sovereignty of India, the security of the state, or public order. This could have major ramifications for players like Twitter and WhatsApp.
The new IT rules require significant social media intermediaries - those with other 50 lakh users - to appoint a grievance officer, nodal officer and a chief compliance officer. These personnel are required to be resident in India.
Under the new rules, social media companies will also have to take down flagged content within 36 hours and remove within 24 hours content that is flagged for nudity, pornography, etc. The Centre has said the new rules are designed to prevent abuse and misuse of platforms and offer users a robust forum for grievance redressal.
Non-compliance with the rules would result in these platforms losing their intermediary status, which provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.