Whatsapp changes stance; Won’t limit functionality for those who don’t accept privacy policy

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Facebook-owned popular messaging platform WhatsApp had earlier said that users would lose functionality over time if they didn’t accept its new privacy policy by May 15th but now the company says it has changed the plans.

The American social media giant in its new statement said that users who don’t accept the updated policy in Whatsapp actually won’t experience limited functionality. “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.

The rollout of the policy has raised several confusions and concerns that WhatsApp would begin sharing more of users’ personal data with Facebook. Some WhatsApp user data, such as users’ phone numbers, is already been shared with its parent company, as part of a policy that went into place in 2016. 

WhatsApp has stressed that the new policy update is regarding messages sent to businesses via the platform, which may be stored on Facebook’s servers. The majority of users who have seen the new policy have accepted, the company said. 

“We will continue to remind users from time to time and let them accept the update, including when they choose to use relevant optional features like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook. We hope this approach reinforces the choice that all users have whether or not they want to interact with a business,” WhatsApp said.

Earlier this year, WhatsApp, through an in-app notification, told its users that it had updated the privacy policy and that if they did not accept the updated terms by February, they would lose access to their accounts.

The decision forced users and privacy activists to raise alarm about how the new policy was invasive and would lead to the data of users being breached. WhatsApp clarified that the changes were necessary to help businesses through WhatsApp Business, which was launched by the company to facilitate communication between businesses and customers.

Related: WhatsApp pushes back; Takes Indian govt to court over new internet rules