WhatsApp Reveals What Happens to Users Who Don't Agree to Upcoming Privacy Policy Changes

WhatsApp has revealed how it will gradually limit the features available to accounts held by users who do not accept the platform's impending privacy policy changes, due to come into effect on May 15.

whatsapp privacy banner

WhatsApp's new banner explaining the privacy policy changes

According to an email seen by TechCrunch to one of its merchant partners, WhatsApp said it will "slowly ask" users who have not yet accepted the policy changes to comply with the new terms over the coming weeks, "in order to have full functionality of WhatsApp" starting May 15.

If they still don't accept the terms, "for a short time, these users will be able to receive calls and notifications, but will not be able to read or send messages from the app," the company added in the note.

The company confirmed to TechCrunch that the note accurately characterizes its plan, and that the "short time" will span a few weeks. WhatsApp's policy for inactive users states that accounts are "generally deleted after 120 days of inactivity."

WhatsApp first announced its new usage terms early last month, and the changes at the time were interpreted by many users to mean that the platform would share their messages with parent company Facebook.

In fact, private messages between users will remain end-to-end encrypted, so that they can only be accessed by those in the conversation. WhatsApp also lets users message businesses, however, and the same protections won't apply to those messages. Data in business messages will be able to be used for commercial purposes like ad targeting on Facebook, with some data stored on Facebook's servers.

The misperception caused a backlash amongst users of the Facebook-owned platform, causing an exodus to rival messaging apps like Telegram and Signal, both of which were quick to exploit the situation by coaxing former users with more mainstream chat features.

WhatsApp has since used in-app Status updates to clarify that the update does not affect data sharing with Facebook in terms of user chats or profile information, with the new terms instead applying to those who use the business chat feature.

In the weeks leading up to May, WhatsApp will begin to roll out a small, in-app banner (pictured above) that users can tap to re-review the privacy policies.

Tapping the banner will show a more detailed summary of the changes, including further specifics about how WhatsApp works with Facebook. The Facebook-owned company says it will eventually remind users to read the new policy and accept it to continue using the app.

Top Rated Comments

travelsheep Avatar
2 weeks ago
I now have more messaging apps on my iPhone than I have friends.
Score: 114 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lamerica80 Avatar
2 weeks ago
Facebook should never have been allowed to buy Whatsapp. For many, it's now literally impossible to truly break free from Facebook. I hate that f----g site with a passion. It had a brief moment of supplying value by "connecting" long lost friends 15 years ago, but now its just worthless, evil and detrimental to people's mental health.
Score: 91 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dlondon Avatar
2 weeks ago
I wish Apple would release iMessage as a cross platform messaging app. I'm using four messaging apps regularly now because my contacts have split between the different apps.
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Anson_431 Avatar
2 weeks ago
It's kind of amazing how Whatsapp/Facebook is capable of making its users gradually hate the company as well LOL
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Total Respray Avatar
2 weeks ago
Unfortunately the migration exodus to Signal, Telegram et al seems to have slowed dramatically. But sooner or later Facebook‘s incompetence will inevitably resurface and kickstart the process again.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NotTooLate Avatar
2 weeks ago
I think the harsh reality is that most don't care , they click "Agree, Agree, Agree" on most of the popups they will ever get from any big App , assuming that big Apps will never do shady things, this is just a broad day light robbery of private information being done for everyone to see and it goes unpunished , Apple will not be enough to stop Facebook from gathering and abusing private information , it will need to be regulated in the law to have any chance to succeed , as you can see Facebook are willing to bet that most ppl will "Agree" to their agenda rather then move to another messaging app.

Regulation is way behind on this , imagine a world where you buy an Oven and you are obligated to allow the Oven company to use a microphone to hear everything you do in your home and a camera to watch it , that is if you want to use said over to cook your food , sure there are other Oven companies but they are small companies you never used and are lacking features and what not (I,e a lesser product) - I guess we can do better analogies here , but you get the idea.

This is basically where we are now , you text a friend about a new car you saw on the highway in a messaging app , 5 min goes by and you are bombarded with Car commercials in every online interaction you have for the foreseeable future , disgusting.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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