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WhatsApp to severely restrict features for users who don’t accept new privacy policy

Facebook-owned WhatsApp may have said that it will not kick off users who don’t accept its new privacy policy by May 15. However, as Entrackr reported, users who don’t agree to reminders of the new policy will have their account severely restricted. “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,” WhatsApp  said in a statement on April 07. However, on its FAQ page, the company details consequences of not accepting those terms in more detail.

Firstly, after a number of week the app will prompt users with pop-up to make them accept the new terms, and users will not be able to access their messages as they usually do. They will only be able to accept incoming calls and message users from whom they receive a message, by tapping on notifications of such messages. And then, there’s the kicker: “After a few weeks of limited functionality, you won’t be able to receive incoming calls or notifications and WhatsApp will stop sending messages and calls to your phone.” WhatsApp services will essentially stop for these users.

These timelines are not defined clearly — WhatsApp isn’t specifying after how many weeks the reminders will become persistent, and subsequently how long it will take for notifications to stop. But when that last consequence kicks in, users will have four months (120 days) before their WhatsApp account is deleted under the service’s inactive user policy.

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy contains terms that open the door to integrating Facebook and Instagram (along with other Facebook, Inc. apps) more closely with the messaging service. Facebook argues that these changes won’t have an impact on user privacy, but civil society groups have raised alarm over the new terms, and the government urged Facebook to withdraw them.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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