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WhatsApp backtracks on forcing new privacy policy, but holdouts will have 'limited account functionality'

WhatsApp logo
WhatsApp logo (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp won't delete or deactivate your account on May 15.
  • If will keep sending you reminders to accept the new privacy policy.
  • Some functionalities might be limited.

WhatsApp will not be deactivating or deleting accounts on May 15, despite saying it would do so earlier this year if you didn't accept its new privacy policy.

A spokesperson said in an email to Android Central that the company will keep sending reminders to users in the weeks to come about accepting the policy. Users who have not accepted the policy will also have "limited account functionality."

Those limited functionalities include not being able to access your chat list (but you will still be able to answer incoming phone and video calls). If you have notifications enabled, you will be able to tap on them to read or respond to a message or call back a missed phone or video call.

WhatsApp said that after "a few weeks of limited functionality," you won't be able to receive incoming calls or notifications and the service will stop sending messages and calls to your phone.

"We've spent the last several months providing more information about our update to users around the world. In that time, the majority of people who have received it have accepted the update and Whatsapp continues to grow," the spokesperson said.

"However, for those that have not yet had a chance to do so, their accounts will not be deleted or lose functionality on May 15. We'll continue to provide reminders to those Users within Whatsapp in the weeks to come."

The Facebook-owned company caused a stir in late January when users got a pop-up notification asking them to opt-in the new updated privacy policy. After major backlash from users, the chat app, which is considered to be one of the best Android messaging apps, pushed the rollout from February 8 to May 15.

At the time the company said that it would delete and deactivate accounts temporarily if users did not accept the terms and policy. In order to be able to keep using the service, users had to accept the policy.

The new changes now mean that users will have to share their data with Facebook including account registration information (such as your phone number), transaction data, service-related information, and information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using the service, WhatsApp said.

Shruti Shekar
Shruti Shekar

Shruti Shekar is Android Central's managing editor. She was born in India, brought up in Singapore, but now lives in Toronto and couldn't be happier. She started her journalism career as a political reporter in Ottawa, Canada's capital, and then made her foray into tech journalism at MobileSyrup and most recently at Yahoo Finance Canada. When work isn't on her mind, she loves working out, reading thrillers, watching the Raptors, and planning what she's going to eat the next day.

5 Comments
  • I deleted this app after their announcement and this pitiful compromise won't get me back.
  • Not much of a compromise, the app is still useless unless the user accept the new policy. I am pretty sure they were not allowed to change it in the U.K, not that I use Whatsapp.
  • Because of Facebooks greed and invasive polices. They've effectively killed the best cross os messaging app on Android and iOS. This half hearted attempt to placate its now former users isn't going to bring many if any back. Since we won't be getting iMessage or have iOS get RCS anytime soon. It's back to convincing friends and family to use something else. We all know how that goes.
  • I'm staying with WhatsApp, I don't agree their privacy policy but their functionality is by far the best, Telegram and Signal don't compare to WhatsApp in features and functionality. Many people in Europe will stick with WhatsApp regardless.
  • I don't think the new policy affects those in the E.U or the U.K, not sure about other European countries that are not in the E.U.
    i keep getting asked to install Whatsapp, but I really don't want to, I have enough ways for people to contact me.