WhatsApp backs down on plan to block users who don’t accept controversial new privacy terms

WHATSAPP has backtracked on its plans to block features for users who don’t agree with its new policies.

The chat platform was threatening to hold certain features at ransom so some users would have no choice but to click accept or stop using WhatsApp.

The deadline for accepting the terms was supposed to be May 15Credit: Getty – Contributor

The deadline to accept the new WhatsApp policies was May 15.

The company had said users would still have a chance to accept the new terms after this but would slowly lose access to certain features if they didn’t.

It originally said reminders would become persistent and hard to ignore.

However, its website now states: “We currently have no plans for these reminders to become persistent and to limit the functionality of the app.

WhatsApp had to re-explain its new policies after facing backlash

WhatsApp had to re-explain its new policies after facing backlashCredit: WhatsApp

It added that the “majority of users who have have seen the update have accepted.”

The good news is even users who haven’t accepted the new WhatsApp policies by the May 15 deadline still have a chance to keep their account working.

WhatsApp also told The Next Web: “Given recent discussions with various authorities and privacy experts, we want to make clear that we currently have no plans to limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works for those who have not yet accepted the update.

“Instead, we will continue to remind users from time to time about the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook.”

What are the new WhatsApp policies?

You may have already seen a popup like this

You may have already seen a popup like thisCredit: Facebook / WhatsApp

A disastrous first attempt to explain its new policies saw millions of users download rival chat apps – with many deleting WhatsApp altogether.

Users had until May 15 this year to click “Accept”, or face being locked out of their WhatsApp accounts.

The new terms are related to messaging with businesses – but were poorly explained.

Even WhatsApp admitted that they were far too confusing, and pushed back the “Accept” deadline from February to May.

The privacy of personal conversations won’t be changing.

Instead, the policy update focuses on optional business features.

Around 175million people message a WhatsApp Business account every day, and this number is growing.

So the policy change affects a huge number of users.

Even if you don’t message Business accounts, you’ll still need to accept the new terms.

There’s also an option to get “more information” on the popup that takes you directly to the WhatsApp website.

WhatsApp – a quick history

Here’s what you need to know…

  • WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
  • It’s one of the most popular messaging services in the world
  • Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like “what’s up”
  • After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
  • It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast. Then in 2016, it became free again for all users
  • Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn)
  • The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
  • As of 2020, WhatsApp has over 2billion users globally
Microsoft just launched NEW WhatsApp rival that lets you chat with pals and make video calls

In other news, Twitter has confirmed the existence of it’s ‘Twitter Blue’ subscription service.

Microsoft Teams just got some new features that could help it rival WhatsApp.

And, Facebook is facing backlash in the US over plans to create a version of Instagram for children under 13.

Have you accepted WhatsApp’s new terms? Let us know in the comments…

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