WhatsApp won't limit accounts for users who don't accept its new privacy policy

It was going to progressively limit features users can access until they accept the new terms

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Mariella Moon
May 29th, 2021
In this article: news, gear, privacy policy, WhatsApp
KIRCHHEIM UNTER TECK, GERMANY - MARCH 09: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) In this photo illustration, The WhatsApp logo on the screen of an iPhone on March 09, 2021 in Kirchheim unter Teck, Germany. (Photo by Tom Weller/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
DeFodi Images via Getty Images

You'll be able to continue using your WhatsApp account as is even if you don't accept the new privacy policy it rolled out earlier this month — for now, at least. The Facebook-owned chat service wrote in a support article before the policy took effect on May 15th that it was going to progressively limit the features you can access until you accept the new terms. Now, it looks like WhatsApp has decided to change its approach in hopes of keeping its current users. It told TheNextWeb in a statement:

"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."

In its updated support page, WhatsApp said it has no plans for the reminders to become persistent, so we're assuming they'll pop up occasionally and not often enough to be an inconvenience. The messaging service first introduced the updated privacy policy quite abruptly back in January, addressing the expansion of its business messaging tools and its new shopping features. Facebook plays a role in enabling those features, and apparently, your business interactions on WhatsApp could influence the ads you see on its parent company's website.

A lot of users understood that as WhatsApp forcing users to share more data with Facebook, resulting in a massive backlash that prompted the company to postpone the policy's rollout. After citing "confusion and misinformation" around the updated policy, WhatsApp decided to re-introduce it in February and to give people more time to review the changes by displaying a banner within the app providing more information. The service initially warned that it would prevent you from using the app altogether unless you agree to the terms. That's clearly no longer the case, though WhatsApp could still change its stance in the future.

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