WhatsApp’s new privacy policy has just been launched. Here’s what you need to know


In the beginning of the year, WhatsApp has taken the seemingly mundane step of updating its terms of service and privacy policy, which is primarily focused on the app’s commercial offerings. The changes triggered a major backlash, however, as they inadvertently highlighted WhatsApp’s multi-year-old policy of share some user data, like phone numbers, with parent company Facebook. Rather than changing the policy that sparked the controversy, WhatsApp instead moved the deadline for users to accept from the original February 8 date to Saturday. If you don’t? WhatsApp will become unusable.

But not all at the same time. If you haven’t accepted the new policy yet, you’ll start to see more pop-ups in WhatsApp describing the changes with a big green Accept button at the bottom. If you tap on it, WhatsApp will continue to share some of your account data with Facebook. If you’d rather disagree, you’ll be able to tap a back arrow in the top left corner of the overlay first. Over time, however, pop-ups will appear more frequently. Eventually, you won’t be able to click at all and the functionality of the app will start to degrade.

WhatsApp originally indicated in February that anyone who declined updates would immediately lose functionality. But the company has since chosen to let the wheels pull away from the car very gradually for several weeks before the app falls into a ditch and stops working altogether.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve posted a notification in WhatsApp providing more information about the update,” the company said in a declaration. “After giving everyone time to review, we continue to remind those who haven’t had a chance to review and accept. After a period of several weeks, the reminder that people receive will eventually become persistent. “

Once you reach the point where WhatsApp places its policy notification on its interface, you will still be able to use the app to a certain extent for a while. You will be able to answer incoming calls, for example, and if notifications are turned on, you can read and reply to messages that way. But you won’t be able to see your chat list or initiate contact of any kind with WhatsApp friends, because again a privacy policy update will block your way. After a few weeks of this delayed experience, WhatsApp will completely remove the plug and you won’t even get any more calls or messages.

The reality is that for most users, agreeing to privacy policy changes won’t have much of an impact on their interactions with WhatsApp. All communications on WhatsApp will always be end-to-end encrypted by default, which means that your messages and photos will always be visible only to you and the users you chat with. And WhatsApp will still not be able to access or share your communications with Facebook. Meanwhile, WhatsApp will be able to share user account information such as your phone number, logs of how long and how often you use WhatsApp, device IDs, IP addresses and other details about your device with Facebook. In addition, WhatsApp can share transaction and payment data, cookies and location information with Facebook if you give permission. All of this has been true since 2016.

The force of the backlash likely caught WhatsApp off guard, as it reminded users of an existing policy rather than creating a new one. Just days after WhatsApp first announced the changes on January 4, the Telegram messaging app mentionned it has gained tens of millions of users, and Signal boasted “unprecedented“growth. In an attempt to stop the bleeding, WhatsApp has delayed the full rollout of the new policies for months so that users have more time to learn more about the changes.



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