Spat over alleged circumvention of UPI platform by WhatsApp seems not to be dying anytime soon. Continuing his tirade against the instant messaging platform and its parent company Facebook, Vijay Shekhar Sharma has termed the world’s largest social network ‘the most evil company in the world’.
Sharma said that the Mark Zuckerberg-led company tried to cheat India with its Free Basics campaign. Facebook had launched the campaign in India in December 2015 with carrier partners to access it for free or used it when they ran out of data credit.
Soon after its launch, Facebook had to wind up Free Basics programme as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) barred operators from charging different rates for Internet access based on content. Sharma was one of the handful of entrepreneurs who vehemently opposed Free Basic.
On Wednesday, Sharma via twitter alleged Facebook for killing the open platform of the UPI with its “custom close garden implementation”. He also blamed Mark Zuckerberg-led company for trying cheap tactics to promote its payments product.
Recently, WhatsApp launched UPI-enabled payment feature to select users, however, it’s restricting the transfer of money largely among WhatsApp users and not enabling the movement of funds to other UPI IDs.
Sharma allegation on Twitter had faced a backlash from other entrepreneurs in digital payment space. Bipin Preet Singh, MobiKwik CEO has questioned the Paytm decision that debarred his company (which he claimed to a neutral wallet) to enable payment on later e-commerce platform.
Twitteratis took a jibe on Sharma emphasising that he’s playing a protectionist card against foreign companies. In an interview to Business Standard, Sharma said that he’s not asking protection against foreign entities.
“Everyone should be allowed to play the field. But no one should arm twist and tweak rules to suit their designs. I have always maintained that WhatsApp is a major security risk to India,” quoted Sharma in the interview.
On Thursday, soon after accusations of regulatory manipulation from Sharma over WhatsApp UPI, the instant messaging app’s Vice President Neeraj Arora had resigned from Paytm’s board.
Domestic digital payment firms accuse the government for giving special concessions and flexibility to tech giants like Google and WhatsApp to get them onto the UPI platform, while the homegrown firms were strictly asked to follow each of the guidelines.
The complete interview can be read here.