WhatsApp Terms and Privacy Policy updated amid pressure from regulators

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WhatsApp’s second try to update its privacy policy is in no way better than the first. It has softened its stance and now seeks to calm concerns on sharing data between WhatsApp and Facebook.

In January, WhatsApp said its updated privacy terms were coming out. It meant some data from its users’ interactions in the app may go to its parent company Facebook.

WhatsApp specified that personal messaging information or interaction data—end-to-end encrypted—would not be shared to Facebook.

Still, the statement drew major backlash. Millions of users moved or downloaded rival messaging apps, such as Signal and Telegram, to boycott the upcoming change.

The users’ reaction was significant. Two weeks after the announcement, WhatsApp delayed the update to explain further, and to prepare users for what was about to come. 

Early in May, WhatsApp showed users alerts again. It notified them of the privacy policy update. This time it had better wording and detailed explainers.

whatsapp terms privacy policy

WhatsApp hoped its specific prompt would ease concerns. It did not.

Last month, Indian regulators requested the messaging service to drop the update fully. They cited data sharing concerns. 

German regulators asked the EU to ban update. They questioned the implications of the process.

India is a key concern for Facebook, as it plans to expand in the region. It is WhatsApp’s largest single-nation userbase with 530+ million users.

Facebook must implement the update to push WhatsApp’s monetization plans. Last week, it sued the Indian government to force the change.

A second chance

Last week, WhatsApp updated the wording of the coming update. It removed user penalty for disallowing the change.

When WhatsApp announced its second attempt at rolling out the change, it explained that:

“After a period of several weeks, the [privacy policy update] reminder people receive will eventually become persistent. At that time, you’ll encounter limited functionality on WhatsApp until you accept the updates. This will not happen to all users at the same time,” said WhatsApp.

The limitations included:

  • Loss of access to the chat list
  • Not receiving calls or notifications

But WhatsApp has decided to drop the penalties altogether.

Bottom of Form

“Considering the majority of users who have seen the update have accepted, we’ll continue to display a notification in WhatsApp providing more information about the update and reminding those who haven’t had a chance to do so to review and accept. We currently have no plans for these reminders to become persistent and to limit the functionality of the app,” explains WhatsApp.

The new terms are optional. And it will have no impact or limitations to your account.

“There will also be other opportunities for those who haven’t accepted the updates to do so directly in the app. For example, when someone reregisters for WhatsApp or if someone wants to use a feature that’s related to this update for the first time,” adds the messaging service.

Users are not beholden to accept the new policy.


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Author: Francis Rey

Francis is a voracious reader and prolific writer. He has been writing about social media and technology for more than 10 years. During off hours, he relishes moments with his wife and daughter.

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