This move caused a huge backlash among their Indian user base; causing a significant amount of users to flock to the competing messaging apps such as Telegram and Signal, who saw their downloads peak in the millions in the days after.
The letter also noted, “This differential and discriminatory treatment of Indian and European users is attracting serious criticism and betrays a lack of respect for the rights and interest of Indian citizens who form a substantial portion of WhatsApp’s user base.”
The government has put forward 14 questions in the letter to WhatsApp, asking them about their data collection practices and various other privacy related issues. WhatsApp is yet to respond to them.
In response to the backlash, WhatsApp started a huge media campaign, detailing exactly what information they collect and how they do not have access to end-to-end encrypted messages. They even pushed the date to accept these policy changes to May 15th, 2021, however it looks like they are still losing users to their competition.