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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
Facebook CEO reaches out to Microsoft President for help: Report. Flickr

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 to Support “Call Waiting” Feature

Meanwhile, the latest WhatsApp beta update has brought three new options for dark mode on the app

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WhatsApp
Call waiting is available in v2.19.352 stable (APK Mirror) and above of WhatsApp, and v2.19.128 (APK Mirror) of WhatsApp Business. Pixabay

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has become the latest Voice over Internet Protocol services provider to support call waiting feature even as the company has skipped adding call holding for now.

When you’re already talking on the phone and another person tries to call you, most phones and operators let you know that you’ve got a call waiting. Very few VOIP services support that, though, and WhatsApp wasn’t among them until now, Android Police reported on Friday.

Earlier, when somebody would try to call you on WhatsApp while you were already on the phone, they would hear it ring, but, no one would answer. The call would then get disconnected.

Call waiting is available in v2.19.352 stable (APK Mirror) and above of WhatsApp, and v2.19.128 (APK Mirror) of WhatsApp Business, the report added.

WhatsApp
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has become the latest Voice over Internet Protocol services provider to support call waiting feature even as the company has skipped adding call holding for now. Pixabay

Meanwhile, the latest WhatsApp beta update has brought three new options for dark mode on the app.

The light theme would offer a white background. Dark theme, as the name suggests, would enable dark mode on WhatsApp, according to WABetaInfo, a fan website that tracks WhatsApp updates.

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Another option, which is ‘Set by Battery Saver’, dark mode would be activated only when the smartphone’s battery level drops below a certain point. This third option is said to be available only for smartphones running on Android 9.0 or older. (IANS)