According to an email seen by TechCrunch to one of its merchant partners, WhatsApp said it will “slowly ask” users who have not yet accepted the policy changes to comply with the new terms over the coming weeks, “in order to have full functionality of WhatsApp” starting May 15.
If they still don’t accept the terms, “for a short time, these users will be able to receive calls and notifications, but will not be able to read or send messages from the app,” the company added in the note.
The company confirmed to TechCrunch that the note accurately characterizes its plan, and that the “short time” will span a few weeks. WhatsApp’s policy for inactive users states that accounts are “generally deleted after 120 days of inactivity.”
WhatsApp first announced its new usage terms early last month, and the changes at the time were interpreted by many users to mean that the platform would share their messages with parent company Facebook.
In fact, private messages between users will remain end-to-end encrypted, so that they can only be accessed by those in the conversation. WhatsApp also lets users message businesses, however, and the same protections won’t apply to those messages. Data in business messages will be able to be used for commercial purposes like ad targeting on Facebook, with some data stored on Facebook’s servers.
The misperception caused a backlash amongst users of the Facebook-owned platform, causing an exodus to rival messaging apps like Telegram and Signal, both of which were quick to exploit the situation by coaxing former users with more mainstream chat features.
In the weeks leading up to May, WhatsApp will begin to roll out a small, in-app banner (pictured above) that users can tap to re-review the privacy policies.
Tapping the banner will show a more detailed summary of the changes, including further specifics about how WhatsApp works with Facebook. The Facebook-owned company says it will eventually remind users to read the new policy and accept it to continue using the app.
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