WhatsApp: What will happen after May 15 if you do not accept privacy terms

Photo: Bloomberg
WhatsApp drew flak from all corners after it revised the privacy policy and usage terms in January to reflect instant messaging platform’s data-sharing terms with its parent company Facebook. WhatsApp had initially given its users until February 8 to accept the new privacy policy and usage terms. On account of confusion over the revised terms, the instant messaging platform had extended the deadline to accept the terms by May 15. Meanwhile, the company is taking several measures to educate its users about the new privacy policy and usage terms through the in-app pop-up notifications and ‘Stories’ feature. Recently, the company also published an explainer on its frequently asked question webpage to clarify what will happen after May 15 if you do not accept the new privacy terms. Here is everything you need to know:

What will happen to your WhatsApp account after May 15 if you do not accept the new privacy policy

WhatsApp states that the users’ accounts will not be deleted but the account will be subjected to limited functionality -- users will no longer be able to send or read messages from the app. The users, however, will still be able to receive calls and notifications, but this will only be possible "for a short time.”

WhatsApp has clarified that the personal messages of users will remain private, though interactions with businesses might not have the same protections. WhatsApp’s privacy policy mainly relates to messaging between businesses and their customers. The company had said that parts of data of those interacting with businesses on WhatsApp are stored on Facebook’s servers and mainly used by WhatsApp for targeting ads on Facebook.

What options do user have:

  • You can accept the updates even after May 15, 2021. However, the account will have limited functionality until the new privacy policy is accepted by the user.
  • Before May 15th, you can export your chat history on Android or iPhone, and download a report of your account. However, deleting your account means it will erase your message history, removes you from all WhatsApp groups, and deletes your WhatsApp backups -- something that cannot be reversed.
Stressing that it will always "protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption", WhatsApp in a blog post said it will start to display banners in the coming days to give more information regarding its privacy policy. It will essentially invite users to check out the platform’s privacy policies again.

WhatsApp has cautioned that the accounts that do not agree to the new policy will be listed as "inactive" and these inactive accounts can be deleted after 120 days.

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