WhatsApp: what happens if you don’t agree to new terms, messenger update explained – and deadline to accept

WhatsApp users are worried they may lose access to their accounts if they don't accept the controversial new terms and conditions

Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp updated its terms and privacy policy over the weekend (15 May), and now requires all users to agree to the changes in order to continue using the platform.

But despite previously warning it would limit the accounts of users who ignore prompts to agree to new terms and conditions, the firm has now said it will give those who have not agreed to the changes several more weeks to do so.

But what happens if you don’t agree to the changes? How long have you got until your account could be lost forever?

Those who do not agree to the changes by the deadline of 15 May will be given 'several more weeks' to do so (Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire/PA Images)

Here is everything you need to know about it.

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What changes are coming to WhatsApp?

The planned update first made headlines earlier this year when WhatsApp began sending full-screen notifications to users alerting them they needed to review and agree to the new terms and privacy policy.

The platform has reiterated that the update will not allow WhatsApp or Facebook to read or listen to messages sent by users (PhotoL INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

Combined with references to parent company Facebook in the terms and conditions, this sparked confusion and concern among some users over possible increased data sharing.

In the days that followed, rival messaging apps saw download numbers increase as some moved away from WhatsApp, forcing the firm to clarify the policy and delay its rollout.

The platform has reiterated that the update will not allow WhatsApp or Facebook to read or listen to messages sent by users, and is instead focused on policy changes necessary to allow users to message businesses on WhatsApp.

“As a reminder, we’re building new ways to chat or shop with a business on WhatsApp that are entirely optional,” the company said in a blog post. “Personal messages will always be end-to-end encrypted, so WhatsApp can’t read or listen to them.”

What happens if I don’t accept the terms?

“We’ve spent the last several months providing more information about our update to users around the world,” the messaging platform said in a statement.

“In that time, the majority of people who have received it have accepted the update and WhatsApp continues to grow."

The firm has said it will give those who do not agree to the changes by the deadline of Saturday 15 May “several more weeks” to do so.

WhatsApp has said that after several weeks of reminders, the prompt will become persistent and will limit app functionality – including stopping the user’s ability to access their chat list.

Users who do not accept the new terms will still be able to receive calls and notifications for a “short time”, but if still ignored after several weeks, the ability to send and receive messages will be cut off.

“Accounts will not be deleted or lose functionality on 15 May,” it said. “We’ll continue to provide reminders to those users within WhatsApp in the weeks to come.”

There will be a chance to agree after the deadline and have full functionality restored, but WhatsApp warned that inactive accounts are generally deleted after 120 days - which takes us to Sunday 12 September 2021.

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