Messaging service WhatsApp, which has more than 200 million users in India, has been urged by Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad for higher involvement in local languages at a meeting with the Facebook-owned company’s co-founder Brian Acton here on Friday.
“I conveyed to him as to how programmes like Digital India are changing the face of India and making Indians technologically empowered and creating new opportunities. He deeply appreciated all this and assured of more involvement of local language,” Prasad said, after his meeting.
Acton said he discussed with Prasad, the ways in which the company can contribute to India’s vision for digital commerce. “India is a very important country to us, and we’re proud to have 200 million people who use WhatsApp to connect with their friends, family and communities. We build every WhatsApp feature to be simple, reliable, and secure, and this vision is in line with what Digital India promises to achieve,” he said.
Acton co-founded WhatsApp with Jan Koum, who is the firm’s CEO, eight years ago on February 24, 2009. Today the messaging service has a user base of over 1 billion.
“We talked about things like civic engagement using digital services to pursue democratic process. We talked about commercial messaging, digital payments, and continuing digitisation of India and bringing digital technologies to the rural and poor areas of India,” Acton said.
WhatsApp had earlier said that it would focus on the roll out of commercial messaging services this year for businesses with an aim to tap into enterprises for monetising its platform. However, it had also made clear that it wouldn’t resort to third-party advertisements for monetising its services.
He said that the every feature of WhatsApp was built in a way that was simple, reliable, and secure, and was in line with what Digital India promises to achieve. “We will continue to invest so we can help more people across India, and we hope to contribute more to India’s vision for digital commerce in the future,” Acton added.
Acton said the company will continue to invest to help more people across India connect to its platform.