“Given recent discussions with various authorities and privacy experts, we want to make clear that we will not limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works for those who have not yet accepted the update,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement to the Verge. They added that this is the plan moving forward indefinitely.
In an update to the company’s FAQ page, WhatsApp clarified that no users will have their accounts deleted or lose functionality if they don’t accept the new policies. That being said, WhatsApp will still send these users reminders to update “from time to time,” WhatsApp told the Verge.
On its support page, WhatsApp claims that the majority of users who have seen the update have accepted.
Initially, the deadline to accept was planned for February, but WhatsApp pushed that date back to May 15 after coming under fire from lawmakers, consumer rights advocates, and its own users, among other critics.
At issue is how this updated policy lets WhatsApp handle users’ personal data, raising concerns that it would begin forking that information over to its parent company, Facebook, gizmodo.com said.
The company aims to debunk these privacy concerns on its FAQ page, in which it stresses that this new policy primarily affects business messaging and Facebook will not have access to users’ location data or message logs. WhatsApp head Will Cathcart also posted a Twitter thread going into more detail.
Interestingly, in India, WhatsApp has sued the government over new digital norms, which came into effect from May 26, 2021, and one of the grounds of contesting the new rules is that implementing them could lead to loss of privacy for WhatsApp users.