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WhatsApp won’t restrict users who don’t accept terms by May 15, but it’s coming

WhatsApp says it won’t restrict access to accounts that haven’t agreed to the controversial new terms and conditions by the new May 15 deadline.

The company has already delayed the roll-out of the new privacy policy because of what it called ‘misinformation’ over features of increased data sharing with Facebook. WhatsApp has been badgering users with in-app notifications asking users to agree to the terms by the new deadline, but is now altering tack somewhat.

Now the Facebook-owned company says if the terms aren’t accepted by May 15, users will begin receiving “persistent” reminders for a period of “several weeks.” Only then will they begin to lose functionality. However, WhatsApp says users’ accounts will not be blocked or deleted if they don’t accept the terms.

“For the last several weeks we’ve displayed a notification in WhatsApp providing more information about the update. After giving everyone time to review, we’re continuing to remind those who haven’t had the chance to do so to review and accept. After a period of several weeks, the reminder people receive will eventually become persistent,” WhatsApp says in an update on its support pages.

Three screenshots, one displaying Whatsapp's update concerning terms and privacy policy, second displaying a Whatsapp audio call to Ayesha pawar, and third displaying lock screen notification from Ayesha Pawar via Whatsapp

Those restrictions will include the inability to access chat list, but users will still be able to reply to incoming messages and answer voice and video calls. They just won’t be able to initiate any of them. Missed calls notifications can be used to call back. After that, users will begin to see functionality gradually wound down until the app becomes all but useless.

“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 says.

Despite widespread reporting on the matter WhatsApp has said the changes to not expand its ability to share data with Facebook. It’s easy to see where those fears arose when the initial notification explained the changes pertained to “how businesses can use Facebook hosted series to store and manage their WhatsApp chats” and “How we partner with Facebook to offer integrations across the Facebook Company Products.”

While WhatsApp continues to tell us there’s no expansion of data-sharing, the new policy may reveal to some just how much data was being shared with Facebook in the first place.

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