WhatsApp users will no longer be able to read or send messages after May 15 if they do not accept the app’s updated Terms of Service.
The service will display a banner warning in the coming weeks after halting an earlier attempt earlier this year amid fears that the data in the app will be more closely shared with Facebook’s main social network.
Users who do not accept the new terms will still be able to receive calls and notifications for a short time, but will not be able to send messages.
After the deadline has expired, it is possible to reach an agreement and restore full functionality. However, WhatsApp warned that inactive accounts are usually deleted after 120 days.
WhatsApp will relay information to users to clarify the upcoming policy update. (Whatsapp)
“To give you enough time to review changes at your own pace and at will, we have extended the effective date to May 15,” said WhatsApp.
“If you haven’t accepted by then, WhatsApp won’t delete your account.”
In the days that followed, the number of downloads on competing messaging apps increased as some moved away from WhatsApp. This resulted in the company clarifying the nature of the change and delaying its rollout.
The platform has reiterated that the update will not allow WhatsApp or Facebook to read or listen to messages sent by users and has focused on policy changes needed to allow users to send messages to businesses on WhatsApp.
“Most of us don’t read the terms and conditions before accepting updates and continuing to use messaging or other apps,” said Dr. Bill Mitchell, Director of Policy at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
“If we read it, we are unlikely to understand every aspect of the exact legal wording.
“That’s why it’s important and welcome when social media companies work harder to put these updates together in more accessible, easy-to-understand formats.
“It is important to have transparency and clear communication from technology companies about how they collect, store, share and process our data in order to understand our preferences and anticipate our decisions.”