Facebook will suspend WhatsApp Accounts that refuse to accept new Privacy Policy Update: Won’t delete accounts but will restrict them

Facebook WhatsApp Privacy Policy Update
Facebook arm-twisting WhatsApp users into accepting new Privacy Policy Update? Pic credit: Robert Cheaib/Pixabay

Facebook wants WhatsApp users to accept the new Privacy Policy Update. The social media giant will reportedly suspend WhatsApp accounts if they do not comply.

Facebook will suspend WhatsApp users’ accounts if they do not accept the updated terms and conditions by May 15. The company recently reintroduced the in-app pop-up message asking WhatsApp users to accept the new Privacy Policy Update.

Incidentally, Facebook is assuring it won’t delete accounts, only render them inactive. However, WhatsApp’s own FAQ about “Inactive accounts” suggests the possibility of deletion.

Facebook will proceed with controversial WhatsApp Privacy Policy Update, and arm-twist users into accepting the same?

Facebook has revealed how it will coax WhatsApp users into accepting the new Privacy Policy Update. WhatsApp has apparently been emailing some of its merchant partners about the issue.

Facebook is reportedly informing merchant partners that it will “slowly ask” users to accept the new privacy policy “in order to have full functionality” of the app. Incidentally, the email also contains a link that takes readers to a publicly available WhatsApp FAQ.

The FAQ page, titled “What happens on the effective date?” is pretty clear on the consequences of ignoring or not accepting the revised WhatsApp Privacy Policy Update. The FAQ page notes that WhatsApp will not delete the accounts of users who do not accept the new terms. However, users who refuse to agree, won’t be able to use the internet-based, instant messaging platform like they normally do.

WhatsApp’s FAQ then further explains: “If you haven’t accepted by then, WhatsApp will not delete your account. However, you won’t have full functionality of WhatsApp until you accept. For a short time, you’ll be able to receive calls and notifications, but won’t be able to read or send messages from the app.”

Incidentally, the “short time” has already started counting down.  WhatsApp’s existing policy on the matter clearly states users who do not accept the new privacy policy by May 15 will be considered inactive users.

Facebook promises not to delete WhatsApp accounts but the platform’s FAQ indicates otherwise:

Facebook has clearly indicated that it won’t delete accounts of WhatsApp users who refuse to accept the new Privacy Policy Update. However, WhatsApp’s standard and preexistent conditions about “Inactive Users” are concerning.

WhatsApp’s FAQ states: “To maintain security, limit data retention, and protect the privacy of our users, WhatsApp accounts are generally deleted after 120 days of inactivity. Content stored locally on a user’s device prior to account deletion will remain until WhatsApp is deleted from the device. When a user reregisters for WhatsApp on the same device, their locally stored content will reappear.”

The FAQ suggests that WhatsApp is completely within its rights to delete accounts that remain inactive for four months. However, accepting the new policy and/or holding on to the data by not uninstalling WhatsApp can buy users some time.

Facebook has been repeatedly reassuring WhatsApp users that the revised Privacy Policy Update won’t open up direct access to the chats, messages, videos, voice messages, etc. Moreover, the app’s new privacy policy does not affect users that just use the app to message with friends and family.

The new policy update mainly opens up WhatsApp to businesses. Facebook is keenly interested in monetizing the platform, and the new policy could result in interactions with businesses on WhatsApp, thereby influencing the ads users see on Facebook.

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