When contacted, a Facebook spokesperson said: "Facebook cares deeply about the safety of people in India and Nick's meetings this week provided opportunities to discuss our commitment to supporting privacy and security in every app we provide and how we can continue to work productively with the Government of India towards these shared goals."
A person aware of WhatsApps's position on the matter emphasised that the platform cannot read messages exchanged as they are encrypted.
It is learnt that Clegg in meetings with top authorities, including Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval as well as IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on September 12, reiterated the US tech giant's stance that it will abide by any lawful request for information by the Indian government, but it cannot read messages exchanged on its platforms.
Clegg told the officials that the company can provide 'signals' and meta data such as who calls were made to and duration, among others, of lawfully identified users, a source said.
The US social media giant has agreed to provide India with 'meta data' of any user of its platforms, including WhatsApp, that the government lawfully identifies but has insisted it cannot look into messages exchanged as they are encrypted.
India is home to 400 million WhatsApp users and more than 328 million Facebook users.
Social media companies in India have drawn flak from the government in recent past over instances of circulation of fake news, breach of user confidentiality, unauthorised data sharing by the apps and concerns over privacy and data security.
WhatsApp in particular has been under fire over users misusing the platform for circulation of fake news that have incited mob fury. The Indian government has made it clear that it intends to strengthen the legal framework and make social media platforms more accountable under law.