The company had users running scared after it introduced a suite of changes into its privacy terms, which allows certain information to be shared with its partner, Facebook. It then pushed users towards accepting these terms or risk being booted off the app.
This caused a mass exodus as spooked users quickly dropped WhatsApp for other encrypted messaging services like Telegram and Signal.
WhatsApp published countless reassurances about what its new policy changes actually mean and push back its initial deadline to May. This was in an effort to allow users the time to read over and consider these new changes in their own time, rather than being rushed to accept.
That deadline is just a few days from now. So, what will happen to WhatsApp users on May 15?
WhatsApp will kill your account slowly
WhatsApp wrote at the time:
“If you haven’t accepted by then, WhatsApp will not delete your account. However, you won’t have full functionality of WhatsApp until you accept. For a short time, you’ll be able to receive calls and notifications, but won’t be able to read or send messages from the app.”
This statement remains true although some small changes have been introduced as per WhatsApp’s FAQ page. It seems the company is just going to annoy its users into accepting.
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.
After a persistent reminder has been activated, users will then start to lose functionality.
This starts with a loss of access to chat lists, but users will be able to answer any incoming phone and video calls. Users can also read or respond to messages if they have notifications enabled.
Following a few weeks of living like this, WhatsApp will then restrict things further by halting calls and messages entirely, rendering it useless.
There’s basically no way to avoid accepting these policy changes if you want to keep using WhatsApp, although the company did say it won’t be deleting accounts as a result of this. Users can delete their own accounts if they choose but this move will be irreversible.
While May 15 isn’t a hard deadline, you will eventually be cut off from WhatsApp or bugged into accepting. So you may as well make your decision now.
You can read about WhatsApp’s new policy terms here.