Following the backlash, WhatsApp postponed the deadline for accepting the new from February to 15 May.
Why the uproar?
Developers explained that it the new policy terms allows for the collection of user data with regards to activity on WhatsApp Services, such as “service-related, diagnostic, and performance information”.
“This also includes information about when you registered to use our Services; the features you use like our messaging, calling, Status, groups (including group name, group picture, group description), payments or business features; profile photo, ‘about’ information; whether you are online when you last used our Services (your ‘last seen’); and when you last updated your ‘about’ information.”
While some users weren’t too concern about the latest update – Facebook already knows more about us than we know about ourselves, right? – others flocked to Signal and Telegram by the thousands.
Possible invasion of privacy
Concerns about WhatsApp and Facebook being able to read or listen to personal conversations despite the end-to-end encryption swirled around social media for weeks.
Another concern was whether the service should be keeping logs of who we are messaging and whether it would be sharing those details with Facebook. WhatsApp then addressed these concerns by releasing info banners within the app.
“Some people will see a small banner that will invite them to check out these policies again. People prefer this approach over the full-screen alert we previously provided.”
Now that 15 May is just around the corner, users have concerns about what will happen if they refuse to accept.
Not much, really. At least not straight away. WhatsApp explained that it would not cut off users who don’t accept the new terms. If you don’t accept on 15 May, you will receive regular reminders from within the app to opt-in.
So no, your WhatsApp account won’t be deleted if you refuse to accept the new terms. That said, your chat app will become as good as useless after a few weeks if you don’t accept.
Brace yourselves, though, WhatsApp warns that it will keep nagging you until you give in.
“After giving everyone time to review, we’re continuing to remind those who haven’t had the chance to do so to review and accept. After a period of several weeks, the reminder people receive will eventually become persistent“.
Persistent reminders and loss of functionality
Once you receive the persistent reminder, your app will lose some of its functionality. All functionality will be restored once you eventually accept the terms. There is no specific date for this.
You will still be able to answer incoming calls but won’t be able to access your chat list. Those who have notifications enabled can tap on a notification to read and respond to a message or a missed call.
A few weeks after that, you won’t be able to receive incoming calls or notifications either, and WhatsApp “will stop sending messages and calls to your phone”. You will have the option to manually delete your account but remember: once it’s gone, it can’t be restored.