GovChat takes WhatsApp to Tribunal

Last Updated: January 20, 2021

Cape Town – The hearing between the government’s citizen engagement platform on WhatsApp, GovChat, and #LetsTalk against Facebook at the Competition Tribunal was heard on Monday.

GovChat founder and chief executive Eldrid Jordaan brought the urgent application for interim relief to the tribunal against Facebook. The interim relief would prevent Facebook from removing the communicative messaging function from its WhatsApp platform.

The application was filed during an urgent hearing of the tribunal last week. The case is currently still pending. This application is the result of a disagreement with Facebook over an alleged violation of the contractual terms of use.

Jerome Wilson from the Legal Practice Council said what GovChat has sought to do is to act as an intermediary between the government and the public, and would act as a gateway through which citizens access government through WhatsApp.

Both parties had previously intended to come to an agreement. However, this did not come to fruition, said Wilson.

GovChat operates via the WhatsApp platform which is owned and controlled by Facebook.

The service was founded in 2016 and officially launched in 2018. GovChat allowed citizens to obtain information on the Covid-19 pandemic from reliable governmental sources and departments.

Original Story by Cape Argus.

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