Now, amid user backlash, the company has announced the new policy will go into effect on May 15 instead of Feb. 8, as originally planned.
“We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update. There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts,” the company said in a blog post dated Jan. 15.
“We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15,” the post says.
In the post, WhatsApp once again reiterates what it said last week — neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see your private messages, and the company is still committed to using end-to-end encryption for conversations. The updates are all about communication between users and businesses, and they do not affect people’s private conversations. (WhatsApp does share some metadata with Facebook, but that’s largely been in place since 2016).
Still, the company acknowledges that it’s “going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp.”
In an email obtained by TechCrunch, originally sent to one of WhatsApp’s merchant partners, WhatsApp stated that those who don’t accept the changes by May 15 will “not be able to read or send messages from the app,” but “for a short time, these users will be able to receive calls and notifications.”
According to report, notes that a “short time” will stretch across a few weeks, but that feature, too, will eventually go away. You can still accept the policy after the deadline, of course.
WhatsApp initially planned to implement these changes on Feb. 8, but after receiving backlash from users, the company extended the effective date.
“We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update. There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts,” WhatsApp said in a blog post last month.
By pushing the date back to May, the company hopes to “give [users] enough time to review changes at [their] own pace and convenience,” as stated on its FAQ page.
And, in order to help users wade through what it is they’re agreeing to with the new policy, WhatsApp also detailed some of the things that are changing versus what’s staying the same in another post.
With all the information the company has released surrounding the new changes, it’s probably best for WhatsApp users to really take the time between now and May to carefully read through it all.
Let’s just say, this probably isn’t one of those “Terms of Service” agreements you quickly swipe through and accept just to get it out of the way.