2021 was off to a not-so-disastrous start as we saw in 2020, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s up in flames. As everyone tried to settle into the new year at home, alone, WhatsApp slapped some new privacy terms on its app and declared an ultimatum: share your data with us or leave by 15 May.
It has now become clear what exactly WhatsApp meant with its ultimatum. Will users be able to continue putting off accepting the terms? Will the app function on their phones? Or will it just boot you off it completely? It looks like… all of the above is true to some extent.
Accept the word of WhatsApp
WhatsApp’s updated privacy terms will allow the messaging app access to a deeper trove of user information than it had before. It’ll take that information, and share it with Facebook, its umbrella company, in a bid to increase its understanding of users across platforms. Now WhatsApp has released a statement detailing what will happen to users that do not follow through and accept the new terms.
After some digging, TechCrunch found that WhatsApp has been emailing some of its merchant partners, nudging them to accept the new terms (as one does). This email pointed to a public page that (kind of) clarifies our burning question: ‘what happens if we don’t accept?’
According to the FAQ page, it won’t delete your account if you don’t accept the new terms (likely because it wants to retain you as a potential future user). But the app won’t function as it does right now. Users that fall into the ‘no’ category will lose access to some critical functions.
“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,” it wrote in its FAQ. We don’t know what kind of timeframe we’re looking at, as ‘short time’ is one of the vaguest concepts in the English language.
But WhatsApp clarified, saying that accounts will be deleted after 120 days of inactivity. We reckon if you’re still taking calls on it, though, it should last longer than that (hello, loophole).