The Competition Tribunal has released an order for an interim arrangement between GovChat, WhatsApp and Facebook until it issues its decision in GovChat’s interim relief application against WhatsApp and Facebook.

The order was issued by the Tribunal after the two parties involved could not reach an agreement during this interim period.

As IOL TECH reported, GovChat brought an urgent application to the Competition Tribunal to prevent Facebook from removing it from the WhatsApp platform.

The application was filed on the 13th of January following a disagreement between Facebook and WhatsApp over an alleged violation of the contractual terms of use by GovChat.

GovChat argued before the tribunal that it had made numerous failed attempts to reach a commercial solution with all stakeholders to prevent the termination of GovChat’s access to the WhatsApp platform.

While Facebook argued that the case concerns its rights to enforce the contractual terms that govern the use of its paid business messaging platform, the WhatsApp business application programming interface, which connects third parties to the platform. Facebook has accused GovChat of breaching the terms of use in pursuit of commercial interests.

This resulted in Facebook threatening to remove GovChat from the WhatsApp platform due to an alleged violation of the contractual terms of use.

The Tribunal order that was issued on Friday provides that:

“WhatsApp and Facebook may not remove (“off-board”) GovChat from the WhatsApp platform; WhatsApp and Facebook may not do anything to undermine GovChat’s relationship with its clients that would, in effect, off-board GovChat from the WhatsApp platform.

“GovChat may not add (“on-board”) any new clients or users to the WhatsApp Business Account; and In relation to existing clients or users on the WhatsApp Business Account, GovChat will not be able to expand their current service offering.”

The Tribunal’s order in relation to the interim relief application will be issued in due course. – IoL Tech

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