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Government’s nod Awaited to Start WhatsApp Payment Feature in India, Says Mark Zuckerberg

Hauled up this month by the Indian government on its failure to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platform amid growing lynching episodes, the Facebook-owned platform on July 20 launched a test to limit message forwarding to five chats that will apply to its users in India

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Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg. Flickr
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Facing intense scrutiny in India over the spread of misinformation and fake news on WhatsApp, its parent company Facebook has said it is waiting for a green signal from the government to roll out peer-to-peer payments feature for over 200 million users on the instant mobile messaging platform.

In an earnings call with analysts after reporting its Q2 2018 results, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company has been testing the payment feature on WhatsApp in India for some time.

“It gives people a really simply way to send money to each other and contribute to greater financial inclusion. The feedback and usage have been strong. All signs point to a lot of people wanting to use this when the government gives us the green light,” Zuckerberg said.

Earlier this year, WhatsApp launched a beta version of its Payments feature in India for nearly one million users.

The move — set to give a tough competition to market leader Paytm — evoked criticism from digital payment services who sought fair play, claiming WhatsApp has custom-implemented Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system which is not secure and flouts norms laid out by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) that has developed the UPI system.

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma also demanded a level-playing field for all UPI-based apps.

Clearing the air on the issue of “lack of fair play”, the NPCI in February said that the full-scale public launch of the feature will be permitted only after the Facebook-owned platform meets all the required norms.

WhatsApp
Beta testers in India found their WhatsApp interface displaying a large list of supported banks and they can see a payments feature appear in their WhatsApp Settings menu. Pixabay

“Currently, NPCI has given its consent to roll out WhatsApp BHIM UPI beta launch with limited user base of one million and low per transaction limit,” said the corporation.

“Four banks will join the multi-bank BHIM UPI model in phases and full feature product shall be released after the beta test is successful,” the NPCI added.

Beta testers in India found their WhatsApp interface displaying a large list of supported banks and they can see a payments feature appear in their WhatsApp Settings menu.

But there was no news from WhatsApp after that.

According to Zuckerberg who lost almost $17 billion within an hour after the company reported slow users’ growth in Q2 2018, “we’ve broadened our focus to building this [Payments feature] for other countries so we can give more people this ability faster”.

Also Read: New WhatsApp Update Enables Media Preview in iOS

Hauled up this month by the Indian government on its failure to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platform amid growing lynching episodes, the Facebook-owned platform on July 20 launched a test to limit message forwarding to five chats that will apply to its users in India.

At least 30 people have lost their lives by lynch mobs after rumours, including that of child lifting, triggered via messages on WhatsApp. (IANS)

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WhatsApp Backups Won’t be Taking Your Space on Google Drive Anymore

Backing up your chats and media to Google Drive is helpful because when you change Android phones or get a new one, your chats and media remain transferable

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Whatsapp Google Drive
Soon, WhatsApp backups won't eat into your Google Drive space.

Google is making life easy for WhatsApp users as starting this November, 1.5 billion users of this popular instant messaging platform will be able to back up their data on Google Drive without worrying about storage space.

“Starting November 12, 2018, WhatsApp backups will no longer count towards the Google Drive storage quota,” WhatsApp said in an update on its FAQ page.

Until now, WhatsApp backup data counted towards the space one had on Google Drive.

According to a report in The Verge on Thursday, unlike other texting apps that store messages on their servers, Facebook-owned WhatsApp requires users to back up their messages to another company’s Cloud service to sync chats between phones.

Apple users have their messages stored in iCloud, while Android users have always used Google Drive, it added.

WhatsApp
WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

WhatsApp also warned that with the November update, backups that have not been updated in more than one year will be automatically removed from Google Drive storage.

“To avoid the loss of any backups, we recommend you manually back up your WhatsApp data before November 12, 2018,” WhatsApp said.

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Backing up your chats and media to Google Drive is helpful because when you change Android phones or get a new one, your chats and media remain transferable.

“We recommend connecting your phone to Wi-Fi prior to backing up your chats via Google Drive, as backup files can vary in size and consume mobile data, causing additional charges,” WhatsApp said. (IANS)