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March 10, 2014

Facebook-WhatsApp Deal Needs Approval of India’s Fair Trade Regulator

The Federal Trade Commission is not the only regulatory body Facebook may need to worry about examining its acquisition of popular messaging service WhatsApp.

According to the Business Standard, the social network’s deal with WhatsApp must meet the scrutiny of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the country’s fair trade regulator.

The report indicates that all acquisitions in which both companies have a significant presence in India must receive approval from the CCI. There are nearly 93 million Indian Facebook members and 40 million WhatsApp users.

A senior official told the publication the CCI has not yet received an application seeking the acquisition’s approval, but added the deal will face “elaborate scrutiny.”

In the U.S., the companies could be subject to an FTC investigation if the regulatory agency acts on complaints filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy.

The two privacy watchdogs are asking the FTC to “halt Facebook’s proposed acquisition of WhatsApp” until their privacy concerns are addressed.

The chief concern is that the acquisition will give Facebook access to all of the mobile phone numbers WhatsApp has amassed.

The FTC has yet to comment on if it will launch an investigation.