WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy Will Limit the App’s Functionality (If You Refuse to Accept It)

  • WhatsApp’s new privacy policy update will come into effect on May 15, 2021.
  • If you don’t accept the new terms, the app will become progressively limited (you will eventually lose access to chats and calls after a few weeks). 
  • If you decide to give up on your WhatsApp account, it will be deleted after 120 days.

Following a fierce backlash, WhatsApp’s new privacy policy got extended in February 2021, providing more time to its parent company (Facebook) to explain the new set of rules related to their users’ privacy. Back then, the deadline for implementing the new policy was set to May 15, 2021. However, as we've just learned, even though WhatsApp still plans to respect the May deadline, the changes won’t come so suddenly. 

If we take a look at WhatsApp’s freshly updated explainer of the new policy, we'll see that "no one will have their accounts deleted or lose functionality of WhatsApp on May 15 because of this update." As reassuring as that sounds, know that specific changes will still come your way. 

Starting May 15, WhatsApp will show a notification about its new terms and privacy policy update, alongside a prominent 'ACCEPT' button. If you don’t accept the new rules, you’ll encounter limited functionality, which includes the following: 

  • Your chat list will become inaccessible. If you have WhatsApp notifications enabled, you can tap on those to read and respond to messages. And when it comes to phone and video calls, you will still get to answer them. 
  • After a few weeks of limited functionality, you will also lose the option to receive incoming calls or notifications. WhatsApp will stop sending messages and calls to your phone, which (as you can guess) will severely limit the app’s functionality. 

With that said, it’s clear that WhatsApp won’t actually delete your account out of the blue. However, if you refuse to accept the new terms and privacy policy update, the chances are that you’ll lose your WhatsApp account eventually. Considering that WhatsApp will start to make its features inaccessible, this will ultimately lead to users abandoning their accounts. And in case you didn’t know, WhatsApp accounts are generally deleted after 120 days of inactivity.

It's also important to be clear about what will change regarding WhatsApp with this new policy update. Despite the numerous rumors, you'll find online, WhatsApp's messages will remain end-to-end encrypted. That means that Facebook won't read your messages.

However, the new rules relate exclusively to messages sent to businesses on WhatsApp. That data will now be stored on Facebook's servers, processed for advertising purposes. As you can imagine, it's your right to choose whether to talk with businesses via WhatsApp or completely avoid this feature, preserving your privacy along the way. 

Lastly, WhatsApp reminds you that you can export your chat history on Android or iPhone and download a report of your account. The provided links will help you learn more useful information, especially if you plan to switch to another app. 

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