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This article was published on May 24, 2021

WhatsApp says it won’t limit functionality if you refuse its privacy policy — for now

You won't be forced to accept the policy for now

WhatsApp says it won’t limit functionality if you refuse its privacy policy — for now
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

WhatsApp’s privacy policy change has drawn a lot of criticism worldwide. The company rolled out its new policy on May 15.

A week prior to that, the Facebook-owned app said that it won’t delete any user’s account if they don’t accept the new policy, but will constantly remind them to accept it. WhatsApp also said at that time that after “several weeks,” if you don’t accept the policy, it will restrict certain core functionality of the platform.

Now, in a new statement, the company has clarified that after speaking with governments and privacy advocates it won’t restrict any functionality, even if you don’t accept the policy for now:

Given recent discussions with various authorities and privacy experts, we want to make clear that we currently have no plans to limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works for those who have not yet accepted the update. Instead, we will continue to remind users from time to time about the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook.

In the future, this could change, but WhatsApp is trying to keep its user base, and governments around the world happy. After the policy was first introduced in January, a ton of users started shifting to other platforms such as Telegram and Signal.

Last week, India asked WhatsApp to retract its privacy policy. It sent a notice to WhatsApp saying that the new policy is in violation of the country’s laws.

In response, the company today said that it continues to ” engage with the government and we reaffirm what we said before that this update does not impact the privacy of personal messages for anyone. ” It added that no users in the country will lose any features, even if they haven’t accepted the policy yet.

On May 11, the German authorities banned WhatsApp from processing user data of people in the country. Facebook at that time said that it’ll appeal against the ban. The company was also forced to hold off its update in Turkey.

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