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Explained: What happens if you don’t accept WhatsApp’s new privacy policy

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Lucknow: Extending the rollout date of its new privacy policy from February 8 to May 15, WhatsApp has lend some more time to its users to either accept its terms or find a new messaging platform. With less than 3-months period to implement its controversial privacy policy, the messaging app has detailed what will happen to users who won’t accept its terms in an FAQ on its website.

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Starting from May 15, its functionality will become more limited, and users will no longer be able to send or read messages from the app. They’ll still be able to receive calls and notifications, but only for a “short time,” as this period will last a few weeks.

As confirmed by TechCrunch, WhatsApp in an email to one of its merchant partners said it will “slowly ask” uncooperative users to comply “in order to have full functionality of the app.” Those who refuse consent will, “for a short time” (i.e. a few weeks) still be able to receive calls and notifications, but most important of all, they won’t be able to read or send messages from the app anymore.

The new privacy policy has been controversial since it allows WhatsApp to share its users private messages with its parent company Facebook. However, messages between individuals on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted, hence, only their recipients can see their contents. Whereas, under the new privacy policy messages sent to businesses may be stored on Facebook servers and whose data may be used for advertising. Meanwhile, WhatsApp has reportedly shared some personal information, like phone numbers, with Facebook since 2016.

“The first thing, which is the most important to know, is that WhatsApp cannot read your personal messages, and we cannot hear your personal calls,” company head Will Cathcart said in a Thursday video.

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The chat service came under heavy backlash last month when it warned folks they had until February 8 to agree to planned changes, which deal primarily with businesses using WhatsApp to send and store consumer texts. Poor communication regarding exactly what the update entails prompted outcry about how much personal data is shared with parent company Facebook.

In response to the controversy, the messaging giant announced to delay the introduction of the new privacy policy from February 8 to May 15.

Furthermore, WhatsApp says that it won’t delete any accounts that haven’t accepted the new terms on May 15th, however, it cautions that it generally deletes accounts after they’re inactive for 120 days.

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