WhatsApp’s new terms reminders to get more persistent - and Facebook will kill features if you don’t agree

·2-min read
Passengers will be able to use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for details of transport options to complete their journeys after travelling by train (Nick Ansell/PA)
Passengers will be able to use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for details of transport options to complete their journeys after travelling by train (Nick Ansell/PA)

WhatsApp will start sending users “persistent” reminders to update the terms and conditions of its messaging application, before it starts throttling the app’s performance.

The change, which will start on 15 May, regards data sharing between WhatsApp and its parent company, Facebook.

The change would make it easier for business who use Facebook’s hosting services to manage how they use WhatsApp. The company intended to make the change in January, but postponed it due to a backlash from users, many of which moved to other apps like Signal.

“Whether you communicate with a business by phone, email, or WhatsApp, it can see what you’re saying and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook”, WhatsApp says. It adds that such conversations with businesses are labelled.

Should users reject the terms and conditions, WhatsApp will impede the app’s performance.

“No one will have their accounts deleted or lose functionality of WhatsApp”, the company says, but the app will, in fact, lose functionality.

Watch: WhatsApp's new privacy policy

After “a period of several weeks”, if users still refuse to accept the terms, WhatsApp will slowly prohibit access to the chat list. Users will still be able to answer phone calls, and can reply to messages in the notification panel, but not from the app itself.

After a few weeks of “limited functionality”, as WhatsApp describes it, “you won’t be able to receive incoming calls or notifications and WhatsApp will stop sending messages and calls to your phone.”

WhatsApp will not actually delete user accounts specifically for not signing up to its new terms but will delete inactive accounts after 120 days per its existing policies.

In the UK however, nearly one fifth of users are either abandoning the app – and Facebook – or have plans to do so, in a survey of 2000 people conducted by YEO Messaging and carried out by OnePoll.

Of those people, one third said they took the decision because they do not trust Facebook, another said it was because they did not want their data misused or sold, and 26 per cent said that articles about Facebook’s data controversies had given them cause for concern.

Almost half said that they had avoided sending information to friends and family over social media due to concerns about the collection of data, and that figure rose to 61 percent for younger people.

“This independently conducted survey shows that there is a real hunger for apps such as ours which allow everyone to take control of their own messaging privacy, and where that their personal data is not sold for a profit or misused”, Alan Jones, Co-Founder and CEO of YEO Messaging said.

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