WhatsApp says will give you more time to think about privacy

WhatsApp appears to have backpedaled on the decision to enforce its new terms of use as its users concerned about privacy flocked to rivals Telegram and Signal.

In recent weeks WhatsApp has been alerting users through an in-app alert that they must accept new T&Cs to share their personal data with Facebook, the owner of  WhatsApp, by February 8 in order to keep using the service.
In a blog post published on Friday calling the users’ privacy concerns “confusion”, WhatsApp announced that the enforcement of the new privacy policy will be now postponed to May 15.
“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.”
“We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15.”

Following the backlash and privacy concerns, millions users fled Facebook-owned WhatsApp as rival encrypted-messaging apps Signal and Telegram (both collect far less data) are reporting massive surges in new users.

WhatsApp went into full damage control mode and posted clarification to some of the questions concerning the new policy before the final postponement announcement.

Rival encrypted messaging app Signal tweeted many are jumping ship, a transition encouraged by a simple tweet from Elon Musk, the world’s newly crowned richest man.

The mandatory changes were set to take effect on February 8, 2021 (now extended to May 15) and if users don’t accept the new privacy policy before that, they will no longer be able to use the service.

You can find here more details of the changes and what WhatsApp will share and what options and alternatives you have moving forward.

We are in an era of historically unprecedented opportunities for social connection, engagement and communications. Although WhatsApp may still continue to grow, those who leave the platform reveal interesting trends which hint at how future relationships with smart technology, personal data and social media will play out.