WhatsApp has launched legal action to stop India enforcing new social media rules that would break its privacy guarantees, the messaging platform told AFP on Wednesday.
The regulations, which took effect the same day, come at a time of growing tensions between social media giants and the Indian government, which has demanded tech companies remove content critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
WhatsApp told AFP it had filed a case in the Delhi High Court.
The Facebook subsidiary did not give details of the legal action but made clear its opposition to the new guidelines that would also affect Twitter, Instagram and other platforms.
The new rules demand “traceability” of messages, which requires social media companies to give details of the “first originator” of posts deemed to undermine India’s sovereignty, state security or public order.
They also require platforms to take down posts depicting nudity or manipulated photos within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.
“Requiring messaging apps to ‘trace’ chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy,” WhatsApp said in a statement.
WhatsApp, which claims 500 million users in India, said it would keep cooperating with “valid legal requests” for information from authorities.
Facebook and Google have said they are working towards complying with the guidelines.
India’s government has said it wants rules that make social media companies more accountable and stop the spread of “fake news”.