What happens if you don’t accept WhatsApp’s new privacy policy by May 15?

You can keep your WhatsApp account but you won't be able to see or read messages if you choose not to accept the company's planned privacy update after May 15. — Bloomberg

WhatsApp has announced that users who do not accept its planned privacy update by May 15 will not be able to experience full functionality of the app in a newly-released FAQ page.

While users can keep their account and continue to receive calls or notifications, they won’t be able to read or send messages on WhatsApp for a short period of time, the company said.

According to a report by TechCrunch, the “short time” will likely span a few weeks, which has been confirmed by WhatsApp.

The messaging service stated in its new FAQ page that users can still opt to accept the updates after May 15.

It also reminded users that they have until May 15 to export their chat history on Android or iOS, and download a report of their account.

For users who choose to delete their account, the company says it hopes that users will “reconsider” as it is an irreversible process that erases message history, WhatsApp backups and even removes users from chat groups.

The messaging service also has a policy of deleting accounts after 120 days of inactivity. It explained that “inactivity means the user hasn’t connected to WhatsApp”, adding that Internet connection is also required for the account to be active.

“If a user has WhatsApp open on their device but they don’t have an Internet connection, then the account will be inactive,” the company stated in an FAQ about inactive account deletion.

Previously, Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced that users had until Feb 8 to accept its new privacy policy on what the company has described as “updates related to optional business features” on the app. It stated that the updates will help users discover or interact directly with businesses on Facebook and Instagram.

Depending on how users interact with ads seen on Facebook, such as clicking to message a business via WhatsApp, they may see personalised ads on Facebook later.

The company claimed that the policy updates does not affect the privacy of users’ personal messages, nor does it share information such as contacts and locations with Facebook.

Rival messaging apps such as Telegram and Signal have seen a surge in downloads as a result of user backlash towards WhatsApp’s planned privacy update.

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