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With a month for new WhatsApp privacy policy to go live, here is what happens if you do not accept it

WhatsApp new privacy policy is going into effect from May 15, and with less than a month to go, here we explain what happens if you don't accept it.

twitter-logoKetan Pratap | April 16, 2021 | Updated 13:26 IST

Highlights

  • WhatsApp's controversial privacy policy change will go into effect from May 15.
  • If you do not accept the new policy by then, WhatsApp will not delete your account.
  • But your WhatsApp account will start losing functionality starting May 15.

WhatsApp's new privacy policy will go into effect on May 15, which means users who haven't accepted it yet have less than a month to do so. This doesn't imply that we are endorsing the new privacy policy and asking readers to accept it but trying to convey that there's no workaround as of now.

WhatsApp has already revealed that users who do not accept the new privacy policy by May 15 will see the app with fewer functionalities, including the inability to send or read messages on the app. Additionally, the messaging app has clarified that users who do not accept the new privacy policy will receive calls and see notifications, but this will continue for a few weeks, after which policy related to inactive users would apply. For those unaware, WhatsApp's policy for inactive account deletion says that the accounts will be deleted after 120 days of inactivity.

Here's what WhatsApp says happens to users on May 15 when the new privacy policy goes into effect, "To give you enough time to review changes at your own pace and convenience, we've extended the effective date to May 15. If you haven't accepted by then, WhatsApp will not delete your account. However, you won't have full functionality of WhatsApp until you accept. For a short time, you'll be able to receive calls and notifications, but won't be able to read or send messages from the app."

Ultimately, users who haven't accepted the new privacy policy so far will have to accept it to continue to use the service or they can switch to alternate messaging apps like Telegram or Signal.

WhatsApp privacy policy: A recap

WhatsApp kicked off 2021 with an in-app alert that said users had until February 8 to agree to the new privacy policy that was being introduced as the parent company had plans to broaden push for e-commerce and the alert clearly said that if users wished to continue using the service after the deadline will have to accept the new terms. The alert went out in the first week of January 2021, and Facebook's owned WhatsApp soon received backlash in India.

A lot of people mistook the alert as a possibility that WhatsApp or Facebook may soon see the content users share with family and friends. There were memes also being shared around where people assumed that anything and everything discussed on WhatsApp is being seen by the company employees, which was an inaccurate assumption.

WhatsApp has since been on the back foot and trying to communicate what changes and what doesn't for messaging app users in India. The messaging app used the popular Status feature as well as other Facebook properties, including Instagram, to highlight changes in the new privacy policy. The company even pushed back the date to implement its new terms and privacy policy to May 15.

For those unaware, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Law & Justice, Communications, Electronics & Information Technology Minister of India, in February revealed that there are over 53 crores of WhatsApp users in India. This means that WhatsApp is among the most used messaging apps in India and the closest rival was YouTube that had 44.8 crore users. Considering the massive user base, it would have always been hard for WhatsApp to implement a big change like the one we are discussing here.

One of the biggest mistakes by Facebook that we feel was announcing the new update as an in-app alert which should have been first communicated to users and explained. After all, it's the responsibility of Facebook and WhatsApp to explain these updates clearly.

WhatsApp privacy policy: What changes and what doesn't

With the new terms and privacy policy update, Facebook is enhancing e-commerce capabilities. WhatsApp says users will be able to talk to more businesses on the platform to get things done, which should be faster than phone or email interaction. "You can message businesses to ask questions, make purchases, and get information. It's your choice whether you chat with a business on WhatsApp, and you can block or remove them from your contact list," explains the company.

The company also came out with clarity on how it collects, share, and use data. "The changes to our Privacy Policy provide you with more detail on how we manage your information. We have added more detail to certain sections of our Privacy Policy and added new sections. We have also simplified the layout of the Privacy Policy and made it easier for users to navigate."

What is not changing after May 15? For regular WhatsApp users, the new update doesn't mean anything. There is end-to-end encryption for chats and calls so that the personal conversation will remain private.

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