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WhatsApp says it won’t delete accounts that don’t accept new terms by May 15

WhatsApp, Threema

WhatsApp will not terminate user accounts after May 15, the deadline for accepting their new privacy policy, the Press Trust of India first reported. In a statement provided to media outlets including PTI, The Next Web and XDA Developers, also included below, the Facebook-owned messaging giant said that it will remind people over the next “several weeks” to agree to the new terms if they have not done so by May 15, which is hardly a week away. WhatsApp reportedly said that a “majority” of users had already accepted the new terms and conditions, which gives Facebook more leeway to leverage user data from other Facebook apps. We have reached out to WhatsApp for comment.

This essentially translates into an indefinite extension of the May 15 deadline — WhatsApp doesn’t appear to be committing to a new date when they will start enforcing the new privacy policy.

The impending changes have inspired a huge amount of pushback due to privacy concerns. The Indian government, through the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, urged WhatsApp to withdraw the changes, arguing that the “proposed changes raise grave concerns regarding the implications for the choice and autonomy of Indian citizens.” The social media company is also fighting off an investigation from the Competition Commission of India, and sued the CCI at the Delhi High Court to block the probe. The court dismissed Facebook and WhatsApp’s challenge, allowing the investigation to continue.

Statement from WhatsApp

“We’ve spent the last few months working to clear up confusion and misinformation. As a reminder this update does not impact the privacy of personal messages for anyone.

Our goal is to provide information about new options we are building that people will have, to message a business on WhatsApp, in the future. While the majority of users who have received the new terms of service have accepted them, we appreciate some people haven’t had the chance to do so yet. No accounts will be deleted on May 15 because of this update and no one in India will lose functionality of WhatsApp either. We will follow up with reminders to people over the next several weeks.We’re grateful for the important role WhatsApp plays in people’s lives and we’ll take every opportunity to explain how we protect people’s personal messages and private information.”

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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