New Delhi: A day after the Centre asked WhatsApp to withdraw changes to its privacy policy, the social media messaging app on Wednesday wrote a letter back to the government saying the proposed change does not expand its ability to share user data with Facebook and that it is open to answering questions on the issue. Also Read - Twitter Announces New Feature That Would Let Users Charge Followers, Netizens React

“We wish to reinforce that this update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook. Our aim is to provide transparency and new options available to engage with businesses so they can serve their customers and grow,” WhatsApp said in its response. Also Read - WhatsApp's Fate Hangs in Balance as New Rules Require to Identify Originator of a Message | EXPLAINED

The Centre on Tuesday has posed 14 questions to WhatsApp on its “invasive” changes in Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Also Read - Information Technology Rules, 2021: Govt Announces Guidelines to Regulate Social Media, OTT Platforms | Key Points

WhatsApp further stated that it will always protect personal messages with end-to-end encryption, so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see them. “We are working to address misinformation and remain available to answer any questions,” WhatsApp further stated.

Writing a strongly worded letter to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has said the proposed changes to the WhatsApp Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, without giving users an option to opt-out, “raise grave concerns regarding the implications for the choice and autonomy of Indian citizens”.

The letter noted that with over 400 million users in India, the changes will have a disproportionate impact on the country’s citizens, it said. The Centre also asked WhatsApp to provide details of the services provided by it in India, categories of data collected and permissions and consents sought. It has also asked WhatsApp to withdraw the proposed changes and reconsider its approach to information privacy, freedom of choice and data security.

The development comes after WhatsApp earlier this month started asking its 2 billion users worldwide to accept an update of its privacy policy if they want to keep using the popular messaging app. The new terms caused an outcry among technology experts, privacy advocates and users and triggered a wave of defections to rival services such as Signal and Telegram.

In the updated policy, it got a right to share data it collected from WhatsApp users with the broader Facebook network, which includes Instagram, regardless of owning any accounts or profiles there. Some businesses, as per the new policy, were to use Facebook-owned servers to store messages.

However, the move from WhatsApp triggered an outcry regardless of its assertion that all private messages between friends and family members remain end-to-end encrypted.

WhatsApp had on January 16 delayed the introduction of the new privacy policy to May 15 after user backlash over sharing of user data and information with the parent company, Facebook Inc.

Since the announcement of the new policy, several users have switched to other platforms like Signal and Telegram which are claimed to be more secure than WhatsApp.