If you don't agree to WhatsApp's new terms, your account will eventually be deleted

WhatsApp users who don't agree to the new terms and privacy policy by May 15, 2021, will have their accounts deleted eventually.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp displayed a banner to its users in January 2021 in which it informed them about changes to its terms and privacy policy. At the core of it is a new data-sharing agreement with Facebook.

whatsapp facebook privacy update

The initial deadline was set to February 8, 2021. Facebook decided to extend the deadline to May 15, 2021 after it received backslash from users all over the world and the story was picked up by media outlets.

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One question that remained unanswered for some times was what would happen to WhatsApp users who would not agree to the new terms and privacy policy by then. Would they have their accounts deleted right away?

A help center FAQ provides the answers to the question. According to the information, WhatsApp won't delete the account right on that day.

Here is the most important information:

  1. WhatsApp will be usable with limited functionality if a user does not agree to the new terms and privacy policy by March 15, 2021. Users will be "able to receive calls and notifications" but they "won't be able to read or send messages" anymore.
  2. The inactive user policy applies to WhatsApp users who don't agree to the new terms and privacy policy. The policy, defined on this page, has accounts deleted after 120 days of inactivity. Local data that is stored on the device prior to the deletion of the account will reappear when users re-register for WhatsApp on the same device, according to the FAQ.
  3. WhatsApp users may export their chat history prior to May 15, 2021. It is unclear if the option is disabled for users who don't agree to the terms after the deadline date.

Competing chat services such as Telegram have introduced options to import Whatsapp chats.

Closing Words

WhatsApp users who don't want to accept the new terms and privacy policy should export their date prior to May 15, 2021 to be on the safe side. It is possible that WhatsApp won't delete the accounts after all if there is enough backlash.

Now You: which messaging service do you use?

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If you don't agree to WhatsApp's new terms, your account will eventually be deleted
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If you don't agree to WhatsApp's new terms, your account will eventually be deleted
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WhatsApp users who don't agree to the new terms and privacy policy by May 15, 2021, will have their accounts deleted eventually.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Allwynd said on February 21, 2021 at 2:42 pm
    Reply

    Those who agree usually do without reading, they don’t care, they just like to press buttons, it makes stuff go away.

    Those who read and don’t agree (or those who just try to bypass agreeing without even reading) will see this as a sign to move to another IM platform.

    1. Yuliya said on February 21, 2021 at 10:26 pm
      Reply

      The UI is to blame to some degree as well, when [AGREE] is highlighted, while “NOT NOW” is merely a link written in the thinnest font OS is able to render.

      1. Odin said on February 22, 2021 at 1:21 pm
        Reply

        That’s a ‘dark pattern’ and they’ve become so ubiquitous that I’m not even surprised anymore when they pop up on websites from organizations or institutions that I would consider ethical.

      2. Mark said on February 23, 2021 at 7:00 pm
        Reply

        Timeto moveto Signal

      3. Lars said on February 27, 2021 at 4:23 am
        Reply

        “Timeto moveto Signal” – Did that a long time back, yet still haven’t managed to get everyone else I care to communicate with on the same page. Unfortunately network effects ensure abominations like WA, FB etc. continue to thrive and grow.

      4. John said on February 22, 2021 at 8:18 pm
        Reply

        Yuliya and Odin are even more correct in an era when a lot of what people are selecting these options on are touch devices like smartphones. I haven’t seen studies on this, but anecdotally, it seems a lot easier to click the wrong thing on a smartphone than on a PC. When the “Not now” thing is small, it even becomes a challenge to get at with a smartphone even if you are paying close attention and trying for it, because sometimes it is very small and one’s fingers are not as as small, and one is trying to avoid this big gaping “agree” touch area and like use the tip of one’s pinkie to hit this little tiny “Now now” thing with enough force and surface area spread to register but not enough that one is also or instead touching “Agree”. It’s also easier to just hit something on a smartphone that you are carrying in your hands in your fingers, possibly while moving around, without even knowing what is on the screen or what you have just selected.

        That is in addition to general points about one option being much larger and more visible and the opt-out being hard to find, and the opt-out just saying something like “Not now” instead of “No”, leaving you with the firm impression (and the reality in the case of some software) that this thing is just going to keep coming back no matter how many times you click “Not now” and that your only choice is when to agree and not if to agree. They are getting people thinking “Now or later” instead of “Do or do not do” (In politics, this concept is referred to as the “overton window”).

        Granted, you can uninstall the software if you disagree, and I think people at some level know that, but by not explicitly presenting that option, it kind of encourages people to forget and sends a subconscious signal like “Who would want to do that?”. These big corporations study user behavior and patterns very carefully. It’s unlikely to be unintentional. They know what will ultimately retain the most users and make them the most money, and that’s what they do, even if they have to do it by appealing to users in a way that seems less than straight forward or fair and sort of exploiting holes in our biological firmware. ;)

        This is one of the reasons why good regulation and regulatory enforcement are so important. The individual human being is not armed to defend against the resources of a corporation using it it’s vast resources to systematically attempt to exploit and manipulate human nature. In a way, what we’re talking about is just the obvious stuff we’re seeing- it would not surprise me to learn that it goes much deeper with some companies. It’s probably one of the reasons some of them are so eager to collect vast amounts of user data on both individuals and groups.

    2. MarkC said on April 11, 2021 at 3:01 am
      Reply

      WhatsApp is the worst app! We use Signal and Telegram! The last one has so much functionality you can’t even compare it to WhatsApp.

  2. Chump said on February 21, 2021 at 3:16 pm
    Reply

    Just to say, I don’t think Europe and the UK will be affected by this change.

  3. Malte said on February 21, 2021 at 5:53 pm
    Reply

    That’s still not legal in the EU. FB has not the permission to send data from WA to FB or any other FB related service. Lawsuit incoming!

  4. Anonymous said on February 21, 2021 at 7:59 pm
    Reply

    People still use that junk? Telegram is better in every way.

    1. Gregor said on February 22, 2021 at 9:59 am
      Reply

      Unfortunately Telegram doesn’t do end-to-end encryption by default. Also you still need to provide your phone number and your metadata can be collected. That messenger is everything but secure.

    2. Roger said on February 22, 2021 at 4:04 pm
      Reply

      why don’t you use threema?
      https://threema.ch

  5. ShintoPlasm said on February 21, 2021 at 9:37 pm
    Reply

    “If you don’t agree with these terms, you can code your own instant-messaging platform!!!!11”

  6. Anonymous said on February 21, 2021 at 10:17 pm
    Reply

    I personally will not agree and I’ll stop using it

    1. Bill Gates said on April 11, 2021 at 3:07 am
      Reply

      What’s up sucks! Telegram is the best! You can use secret chats to get end to end encryption, you can also configure self-destructing messages. You can set your chats self delete by a set schedule or date, you can send file up to 2 GB you can have groups up to 200,000 people. There is tons of functionality, you can listen to music, watch movies, you can read news you can use 🤖 bots…

  7. Social Psycho said on February 21, 2021 at 11:46 pm
    Reply

    Knowing the owner of WhatsApp, that threat is not at all what they want you to believe. Every deleted account is money away from Adolf Zuckerbergs pockets, so when it’s time for them to delete your account there’s not a snowballs chance in hell they will do it easily or fast. That would actually be doing you a favour and that’s not how Facereich works. You will be carpetbombed with embarrassing pleas not to leave, of course disguised as even more and more scary threats as your extremely slow departure is “underway” Just ignore everything, delete the app and use a better alternative and never look back. Sit back and enjoy watching the news where they say Facebooks shares are plummeting and in fact Facebook is dying a slow sad and well deserved death..

    1. Stella said on February 22, 2021 at 11:38 am
      Reply

      I deleted mine some days ago and that didin’t happen.

      1. Social Psycho said on February 23, 2021 at 4:49 am
        Reply

        …and where exactly did I mention this applying to one jumping the gun and deleting their account intentionally?

    2. Lars said on February 27, 2021 at 4:28 am
      Reply

      Would love to see your last sentence cone true, but sadly I don’t trust my fellow man to be equally intelligent or even care enough to put in even the most minimum of effort to move to something far better like Signal.

  8. Wayfarer said on February 22, 2021 at 12:42 am
    Reply

    People…
    When will you grasp the simple concept that the free app youre using is’nt the product?
    The product is YOU!

    1. gump said on February 22, 2021 at 5:19 am
      Reply

      @Wayfarer

      How profound. You should sell bumper stickers of that.

      1. Lars said on February 27, 2021 at 4:31 am
        Reply

        Don’t be such a chump, @gump, and stop making such useless facetious statements.

    2. Grammar Gestapo said on February 23, 2021 at 4:52 am
      Reply

      “you’re” “isn’t”

      Their, Iv’e fixth ‘ith fore ju.

  9. John C. said on February 22, 2021 at 6:53 am
    Reply

    This makes me smile. It does so because during the horrible Oregon fires last summer, I desperately attempted to create another Facebook account so that I could know how my family and friends were doing. I provided them with correct information in application, but was told that I’d broken one of their rules and that I couldn’t get an account. They said that their decision was final and that it was forever. I was given no explanation and there is no way to contact Facebook to ask them for one. I would dearly love to see Facebook go bankrupt and be driven out of business. Their arrogance as the (IMO) monopoly that they are is unparalleled. Mark Zuckerberg and his company can go to hell.

  10. Anonymous said on February 22, 2021 at 9:52 am
    Reply

    the new terms are extremely important for Facebook. It’s the foundation for turning whatsapp into a profitable business, this is whay they need to push through with it. Everyone who accepts the new terms plays a part in the new technical dystopia, although it’s actually the same with google, apple, amazon, etc., they are all part of the same game.

  11. Sebas said on February 22, 2021 at 5:56 pm
    Reply

    Not all terms apply to Europe, as far as I know. I do not know if they still wil enforce it to European users.

    I use Signal and whatsapp, but no almost one else I know does use Signal. People simple do not care. And Facebook knows that.

    1. MeToo said on February 23, 2021 at 4:59 am
      Reply

      Yeah, but it doesn’t take much for it to get rolling and snowball into a massive global movement. Imagine someone that people look up to and listen to says both whatsapp and facebook are the most uncool and sooo yesterday things ever, and it begins.. THAT’S how we get rid of Zuckerberg and the monster he created. ..or claims he did =) We CAN fight back you know, there’s absolutely zero need to use facebook or whatsapp anymore.

      1. Opal said on February 23, 2021 at 11:43 am
        Reply

        Zuckerberg will just buy whatever becomes the privacy-respecting alternative and the whole thing starts over again.

      2. Ponged into dust said on February 24, 2021 at 4:46 am
        Reply

        @Opal So you’re saying it’s useless and not worth fighting back at all. Kinda like rape, best just pull your pants down beforehand and bend over and try to enjoy it and not stress about it since it’s gonna happen anyway?

        I say no. Zuckerberg and his minions have molested the planet enough, it’s time we end it. He will have to make due with just 2000 diamond toilets in each of his 500 ivory castles.

        Have you looked at that man’s face? Can you believe we made that superdork a mighty rich man??? He looks like as if you played ping pong against him you just wanted to bludgeon that retard smirk of his dumb face with the paddle.

    2. Lars said on February 27, 2021 at 4:38 am
      Reply

      I’ve been trying to get people to join me on Signal for ages too, and it’s still mostly crickets here… It’s true – people just do not care.

      @MeToo: Nice dream and all, but who’s this magical ‘someone’ who according to you can convince addicts to give up their precious WA and FB?

  12. Anonymous said on February 22, 2021 at 6:33 pm
    Reply

    If it involves personal data, it’s probably not legal under GDPR in the EU to close accounts for not wanting one’s data to be used for this new purpose. But Facebook is already breaking the GDPR consent rule at a larger scale and is rich enough to do so without consequences currently:

    https://noyb.eu/en/vienna-superior-court-facebook-must-give-access-data

    Capitalism as usual.

    1. YetAnotherJason said on February 23, 2021 at 1:50 am
      Reply

      This isn’t a “capitalism” problem but a “mass surveillance” problem. Capitalism just means we have private companies doing it instead of ONLY the state doing it. And I should point out that most states in the liberal democratic world are not eavesdropping on the scale of the world’s remaining non-free market regimes (though there are a couple of exceptions that we all know about).

      Let’s not lose our calm over a problem that we’ve really only been facing for a decade (even if it seems like a century already). Some governments are starting to catch up, as seems to be happening in the EU with not only the GDPR but also the proposed Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act. These things have teeth.

      General public awareness is increasing too, to the point where the tech giants are now cynically using words like “private” to advertise their non-private services, because they know that the public mood is starting to shift. I can speak to this shift from personal experience, as several members of my family lately have begun to ask me questions like, “What’s a more private IM app for privacy?” and “Can you put a private operating system on my phone like you have on yours?”.

      The biggest problem we now face is the lack of enforcement of the law. I was reading somewhere that the EU has < 100 people tasked with investigations into GDPR compliance (plus whatever people may be doing this kind of work on a national level). A company like Facebook can line up 100 lawyers in the blink of an eye and tie up the investigators for years. As a result, not only will the investigators have trouble enforcing the rules on the tech giant but also will have to ignore the millions of infractions by smaller organizations. There's an article at a site called ProPrivacy that documents quite serious tracking/fingerprinting activities by well-known British **charities**, including cases where hidden pixels are placed on people's screens for tracking purposes. Imagine what's happening in organizations large and small, public and private, for-profit and not-for-profit across the EU… Until governments actually put the funds into the enforcement side of the equation, nothing much is going to happen.

      1. Anonymous said on February 26, 2021 at 12:44 am
        Reply

        “This isn’t a “capitalism” problem but a “mass surveillance” problem. Capitalism just means we have private companies doing it instead of ONLY the state doing it.”

        Bullshit. Facebook and Instagram targeting ads from private data against the will and interests of the subjects is an intrinsically capitalist problem. And the state working for capitalists meaning that Facebook is immune, is a capitalist problem.

        “And I should point out that most states in the liberal democratic world are not eavesdropping on the scale of the world’s remaining non-free market regimes”

        Bullshit on the matter of state surveillance (which anyway is totally off-topic in the current discussion, but a convenient diversion for you). As for the large scale commercial surveillance that is the topic here, it’s obviously only a capitalist problem. And one that makes state surveillance much easier. No need for a warrant or any other form of evil democratic process when every intimate detail can be Bought by the FBI on the Liberal Free Market. Which they do by the way.

        “There’s an article at a site called ProPrivacy that documents quite serious tracking/fingerprinting activities by well-known British **charities**, including cases where hidden pixels are placed on people’s screens for tracking purposes. ”

        Because surveillance capitalism made this the norm for profit reasons, even charities are starting to do it, although not as much. I bet that if capitalism made slavery the norm again, even charities in capitalist regimes would at some point start employing slaves. Besides, “charities” are often nothing but assets for for-profit companies that use them for their own agenda.

  13. ryuk said on February 23, 2021 at 12:22 am
    Reply

    If you care about privacy use Signal, an open-source, encrypted messaging tool endorsed by Edward Snowden.

  14. Reverie72 said on February 23, 2021 at 3:40 am
    Reply

    Yay another blunder from facebook and whatsapp. they should learn previous mistake not making another mistake. unfortunately most people especially normal user prefer agree with news terms

  15. Lemegeton said on February 23, 2021 at 8:19 am
    Reply

    > Now You: which messaging service do you use?

    Tox. Open-source, P2P, E2EE, no mobile phone required.

  16. JohnIL said on February 23, 2021 at 7:47 pm
    Reply

    Free services have always been a trade off in terms of providing you a free service in exchange you give me something. I think most just blindly accept this agreement and while they may complain they are too addicted to the service to give it up. I don’t see many running from Google, Facebook, Twitter or whatever. Even though they tend to be intrusive, censoring, and not transparent in what they do with your information. You see how Facebook became so upset with Apple over its privacy disclosure requirements. If you have nothing to hide then this should be OK if you really are all about protecting your users. I don’t think they are so I choose not to use any of their services.

    1. Driftwoody said on February 24, 2021 at 11:06 am
      Reply

      > Free services have always been a trade off in terms of providing you a free service in exchange you give me something.

      Well, there’s a solid history of free stuff that was just paid for by advertising, without the tracking of the users and the selling of such collected data. But sadly, those days are pretty much long gone.

      Even before the web, it was sketchy telemarketers who grew most of that dark market of collecting and trading info about everyone. They would pay moles within other companies to get that customer info.

      Among others, Enron erupted from that cesspool of telemarketers.

      I knew some of those evil folks who started as telemarketers. One ended up trading funny money as an international banker, and then when the economy crashed over those shenanigans, he didn’t lose a dime.

  17. TelV said on February 25, 2021 at 12:32 pm
    Reply

    I use Signal and LINE. The latter is much more popular in SE Asia than in Europe, but the advantage is that there are virtually no ads to contend with in this part of the world.
    https://line.me/en/

    As for Facebook I deleted my account ten years ago and have never used Whatsapp even before it was acquired by FB.

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