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What You Should Know About the New Privacy Policy on WhatsApp by Ben Givon

The beginning of the year marked a turbulent time in the social media waters, as WhatsApp created a ripple effect by announcing changes to their privacy policy. Doubting users have expressed disapproval of the new developments, raising all sorts of questions, the main one being, what happens to those accounts that do not comply with the changes? Ben Givon explains.

The public outrage about the novice changes led to WhatsApp pushing the deadline from February up until May. A subsequent massive user transition followed to similar messaging apps, such as Signal and Telegram. As per their claims, this was only to give their users an adequate amount of time to inform themselves and review the privacy policy. The company says they have been sending recurring notifications to users with further explanations of the update so that they can review and accept. After a couple of weeks, the reminder becomes more persistent if you choose to ignore it.

The main question still stands, what happens if you decide not to accept the new update? Whatsapp has made it clear that no accounts will get deleted if the update gets dismissed. The company owned by Facebook clarified that this would limit functions to those users, adding that this will not happen all at once:

  • First, you will lose the ability to send or receive messages
  • Second, you will lose access to your chat list
  • Lastly, you will lose the ability to address missed regular or video calls

Even though you will receive message notifications and calls, the app will remind you of the privacy policy change until it eventually withholds your user privileges. The app will continuously nudge you of the importance of the new privacy conditions if you want to keep using WhatsApp as you used to. 

The question is, will you still be able to accept the new privacy policy even after the set timeframe, which is May 15th? Yes, and you can do so by opening the app and waiting for the notice to pop up. Once you’ve finally accepted, you’ll retrieve all functions. 

One more question arose concerning the loss of an account. The policy states that all accounts that are inactive for more than 120 days get deleted. If it takes you too long to authorize or connect, your conversations and other data could be lost. If you reinstall it later, the only recovered data is the one already stored in your device.

Ben Givon answers the focal question concerning these privacy changes. Some of the new guidelines include the ability to contact businesses on the platform faster when compared to email or phone and different ad displays. Nonetheless, the most controversial change of all is the change in data sharing. The company clarified these changes only apply to business accounts. They do not expand WhatsApp’s ability to share individual user data with parent company, Facebook.  Lastly, now that we’ve covered all of the ups and downs of these novice privacy changes, Ben Givon advises you to consider if you are compliant with them. If you ultimately decide not to accept, is it worth losing the entire app experience altogether? You can always go with a similar app, as some users did by switching to Telegram or Signal. Whichever you decide, keep in mind that end-to-end encryption is still protecting personal conversations and media, which implies that no one outside the chat can read or listen, not even WhatsApp nor Facebook.

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