WHATSAPP has said it plans to delete the accounts of users who do not accept its controversial new privacy terms.
The Facebook-owned chat service has set a deadline of May 15 for the changes, which will be rolled out to users across the globe.
WhatsApp plans to block users who don’t accept its controversial new privacy termsCredit: Alamy
The new terms, which first appeared via an in-app alert last month, sparked mass panic on social media and led to a mass exodus to rival chat apps.
Millions jumped ship amid fears over their privacy after it was revealed that the agreement permitted the app to share more data with Facebook.
WhatsApp initially handed users a cutoff of February 8 to agree to the terms but pushed that back to May following fierce criticism online.
Now, an official email seen by TechCrunch has revealed what users who shun the new policy are in store for.
The original popup above sparked mass panic on social media last month
This is the new pop-up you’ll see very soon that explains things more clearlyCredit: Facebook / WhatsApp
According to the message sent to WhatsApp’s merchant partners, the California firm will allow users to review its update at “their own pace”.
WhatsApp said it will “slowly ask” users to comply with the new terms “in order to have full functionality of WhatsApp” starting May 15.
Those who decline the agreement – distributed via a pop-up – will be blocked from sending messages and could see their accounts shut down.
“For a short time, these users will be able to receive calls and notifications, but will not be able to read or send messages from the app,” the firm wrote in the note.
The Sun understands that the note accurately reflects WhatsApp’s plans going forward.
The “short time” refers to a period of a few weeks, according to TechCrunch.
WhatsApp is embarking on a publicity campaign to convince you that its chat app is private and safeCredit: Facebook / WhatsApp
In the note, WhatsApp linked to a new FAQ page on its website and said its policy on inactive users will apply to those who do not accept the terms.
According to the page, accounts deemed inactivate are “generally deleted after 120 days of inactivity.”
It follows a disastrous first attempt to push the new terms on users last month.
That sparked global outcries and a stampede of new users to competitor private messaging apps including Telegram and Signal.
Users had expressed concern that the alterations to WhatsApp’s terms of service put their personal data at risk.
WhatsApp – a quick history
Here’s what you need to know…
- WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
- It’s one of the most popular messaging services in the world
- Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like “what’s up”
- After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
- It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast. Then in 2016, it became free again for all users
- Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn)
- The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
- As of 2020, WhatsApp has over 2billion users globally
Some claimed that the new rules give Facebook permission to read your private messages. WhatsApp strongly denies the accusations.
The company has stressed that the update is focused on allowing users to message with businesses, and that it will not affect personal conversations, which remain protected by end-to-end encryption.
“This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook,” WhatsApp said in a statement last month.
“While not everyone shops with a business on WhatsApp today, we think that more people will choose to do so in the future and its important people are aware of these services.”
Facebook has been rolling out business tools on WhatsApp over the past year as it moves to boost revenue from the app.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19billion in 2014 and is still on the hunt for effective ways to make money off of it.
The app already shares certain categories of personal data, including the user’s phone number and IP address, with Facebook.
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