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WhatsApp issues ultimatum - Accept new policy or lose basic functionality

On May 15, WhatsApp's hotly-debated privacy policy is scheduled to come into force. The company maintains that "No one will have their accounts deleted or lose functionality of WhatsApp on May 15 because of this update."  However, soon after the deadline, WhatsApp will force users to accept the terms or leave the platform by gradually denying access to calling and messaging features.
 

In this article

Revised privacy policy drew global criticism despite delayed implementation deadline
WhatsApp has been 'explaining' policy changes, introducing new features
WhatsApp will repeatedly remind users to accept the updated policy
Eventually, users will be restricted to answering incoming calls, messages
WhatsApp has good reason to deny feature access gradually
Apparently, one must forego WhatsApp altogether to refuse updated policy
WhatsApp's brute-force move could backfire in spectacular fashion
 

Quick recap

Revised privacy policy drew global criticism despite delayed implementation deadline
WhatsApp's revised privacy policy allows the platform to share your information with parent Facebook if you interact with business accounts on WhatsApp.
The move received widespread criticism since there wasn't an option to refuse the changes. Additionally, the policy differed from country to country, and the European Union was completely exempt from the changes. In January, WhatsApp delayed the implementation deadline to May 15.
 

Buying time

WhatsApp has been 'explaining' policy changes, introducing new features
The delaying tactics bought WhatsApp time to explain itself. The platform attempted to rephrase its policy and rolled out many feature updates.
Most of these features mimicked those available on rival messaging services and the explanations provided for policy changes didn't seem convincing.
Now, in support documentation spotted by Bleeping Computer, WhatsApp said it will actively restrict functionality after the May 15 deadline.
 

Pesky reminders

WhatsApp will repeatedly remind users to accept the updated policy
WhatsApp will allow people to continue using its services for "several weeks" even if they don't accept the changes. The platform will continue sending reminders, which will eventually become a persistent notification.
However, pay close attention to the opening statement of the support document. Users technically won't lose functionality or their accounts on May 15. Anything after that is a fair game.
 

Arm twisting

Eventually, users will be restricted to answering incoming calls, messages
Once users receive a persistent notification reminder, WhatsApp will deny users access to their chat list. It said that users will still be able to answer incoming voice and video calls, return missed voice and video calls, and respond to messages if the other person messages first.
WhatsApp said that "this will not happen to all the users at the same time."
 

Apt analogy

WhatsApp has good reason to deny feature access gradually
Essentially, WhatsApp's phased feature elimination is akin to terrorists taking hostages. They need to kill a few to drive their point across while still retaining their bargaining power. The psychological impact of this move compels other hostages and relevant authorities to comply.
WhatsApp's plan works by making the platform unusable for a few, while hoping the FOMO factor scares the rest into compliance.
 

Complete stoppage

Apparently, one must forego WhatsApp altogether to refuse updated policy
WhatsApp said after a few weeks of being restricted to incoming calls and messages, the app will completely cease to function for users who don't accept the updated privacy policy.
At that point, WhatsApp will graciously allow users to export their chats, download a report of their account, and request account deletion.
WhatsApp said it won't delete accounts for not accepting the revised policy.
 

Users aren’t fools

WhatsApp's brute-force move could backfire in spectacular fashion
However, the Facebook-owned messaging service mentioned that accounts would still be irreversibly deleted after 120 days of inactivity according to its existing policy.
We think WhatsApp's strong-arm tactics will further accelerate the ongoing migration of users to rival messaging services such as Signal and Telegram.
Not to mention, Facebook's recent data breaches and dodgy remarks at congressional hearings haven't helped its brand image either.
 

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