Refusing to accept WhatsApp's new privacy policy? Here's what will happen to your account

midian182

Posts: 6,798   +61
Staff member
A hot potato: WhatsApp has revealed the consequences for users who refuse to sign its controversial new privacy policy by the May 15 deadline: loss of account functionality, followed by eventual deletion.

At the start of January, WhatsApp announced a new privacy policy for non-EU users that allows their account data to be shared with the messaging app's owner, Facebook. The service has shared some information, such as phone numbers, with its parent since 2016, but there were fears that the new policy would allow Facebook to access private WhatsApp conversations.

While private conversations will remain encrypted, messages sent to and from businesses may be shared, and Facebook can use the data for targeted advertising.

The outcry against the new policy led to WhatsApp delaying its introduction from February 8. Now, TechCrunch reports that users are being asked to agree to the new terms by May 15 to ensure the app keeps working as normal.

Those who refuse to comply with the new policy will find that their accounts won’t be deleted straight away, but functionality will be severely limited. They’ll no longer be able to send or read messages from the app, and while receiving calls and notifications will be possible, those features will also disappear after a few weeks.

WhatsApp notes that users can still accept the updates after May 15 but warns that it generally deletes accounts following 120 days of inactivity.

WhatsApp is essentially clarifying that any user who refuses to accept the new privacy policy will eventually have their account terminated. If you fall into that category, take solace in the fact that there are plenty of other, less invasive options out there, including Signal, Telegram, and Discord.

Permalink to story.

 

Dimitriid

Posts: 562   +964
I appreciate the sentiment of everybody that basically only sees "uninstall" as the only response, but depending on where you live you might not be able to: I've seen it being used as for example a work tool for teams to stay in touch in place of phone calls for example to coordinate whenever there's no access to "work internet" for example.

The real issue here is how many people have already accepted or will accept because of this kind of huge social pressure to do so: sure nobody is FORCING you to accept Whatsapp or Facebook or Linked in usage, but are you *really* going to miss on positions for jobs or even quit your current job just to prove a point? And are you going to explain this to interviewers "Yeah I quit my last job because they were forcing me to use Whatsapp and they have draconian terms of service I couldn't in good conscience agree to"?

This is how huge companies like Facebook or Apple eventually win: they just become too big to fail, regardless of whatever abusive practices they implement.
 

NumberSix

Posts: 27   +39
The sad thing is people hear them say your texts are private and they are happy to click accept but it isn't what is in your texts WhatsApp wants. The contents of your messages are of no value to them but the metadata they have access to and conveniently never mention in any privacy discussion is the real prize. People are being bullied in to accepting the new terms regardless of what they actually mean and that is the problem I have with it, accept or lose the service is not much of a choice is it.

Thank god for Signal.
 

NeoMorpheus

Posts: 524   +1,004
The last "scare" only proved, at least on my experience, that people dont care and wont uninstall and move on.

On Signal, I saw 3 people move, even less on Telegram.

So in my case, if I uninstall, I will simply revert back to SMS.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,452   +3,610
I appreciate the sentiment of everybody that basically only sees "uninstall" as the only response, but depending on where you live you might not be able to: I've seen it being used as for example a work tool for teams to stay in touch in place of phone calls for example to coordinate whenever there's no access to "work internet" for example.

The real issue here is how many people have already accepted or will accept because of this kind of huge social pressure to do so: sure nobody is FORCING you to accept Whatsapp or Facebook or Linked in usage, but are you *really* going to miss on positions for jobs or even quit your current job just to prove a point? And are you going to explain this to interviewers "Yeah I quit my last job because they were forcing me to use Whatsapp and they have draconian terms of service I couldn't in good conscience agree to"?

This is how huge companies like Facebook or Apple eventually win: they just become too big to fail, regardless of whatever abusive practices they implement.
If I worked for a company that A) required me to use Whatsapp for some ungodly reason and B) did NOT provide me with a work phone and instead required me to sign up for this service with my personal hardware, I'd quit immendiately. Sound like a shat work enviroment that doesnt care at all about its employees.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 562   +964
If I worked for a company that A) required me to use Whatsapp for some ungodly reason and B) did NOT provide me with a work phone and instead required me to sign up for this service with my personal hardware, I'd quit immendiately. Sound like a shat work enviroment that doesnt care at all about its employees.

This is kind of my point: back when I was young, unemployed and without responsibilities, this was my response. Now I have people that rely on me financially.

I could just quit or pass on a job on principle because I refuse to be on a "**** work environment" and such. In fact I sort of did quit a few times in my early 20s just like that. There's always other jobs and you'll "get by"

But at some point, most people that don't have something like a huge inheritance of family business to rely on, will start weighting in those decisions and coming out on the side of "This 'toxic' work environment and draconic corporate policies are ok with me if I get to be gainfully employee in the middle of a pandemic and subsequent economic downturn." There's a surprising amount of things you put up with and your boss expecting you to reply to a whatsapp message (Yes, on your personal phone) instead of giving you a phone call is very, very low on the list of priorities.

This is why the backlash just won't be anywhere near as bad as many of you think it will be, in fact Whatsapp could be far worst and still mostly get away with things.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,452   +3,610
This is kind of my point: back when I was young, unemployed and without responsibilities, this was my response. Now I have people that rely on me financially.

I could just quit or pass on a job on principle because I refuse to be on a "**** work environment" and such. In fact I sort of did quit a few times in my early 20s just like that. There's always other jobs and you'll "get by"

But at some point, most people that don't have something like a huge inheritance of family business to rely on, will start weighting in those decisions and coming out on the side of "This 'toxic' work environment and draconic corporate policies are ok with me if I get to be gainfully employee in the middle of a pandemic and subsequent economic downturn." There's a surprising amount of things you put up with and your boss expecting you to reply to a whatsapp message instead of giving you a phone call is very, very low on the list of priorities.

This is why the backlash just won't be anywhere near as bad as many of you think it will be, in fact Whatsapp could be far worst and still mostly get away with things.
Talk about moving the goalposts. It's still a crap job, and if you are still taking crap jobs while trying to raise a family in your middle age, you have screwed something up horribly. And again, there are other jobs out there that WONT make you do this.

You also assume I dont have responsibilities and can therefore justify that response. I have family, responsibilities, ece, but I also have dignity and a work ethic, Im not going to work for some bottom rung sewer stain that puts work emails, accounts, ece of any kind on my personal phone. Nope. You can give me a work phone or I am simply not going to sign up.

People need to grow a backbone and stop getting steamrolled by this garbage.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 562   +964
Talk about moving the goalposts.

Ok we're getting away from the central issue here: from the get go I have been acknowledging that this isn't ok for Whatsapp to do and I just illustrated a valid example of social pressure: If you cannot conceive of somebody that might need or maybe even just want to remain in a job even if they require them to use questionable tools like Whatsapp that's ok: it just means that you're very serious about privacy issues and have a pretty good job and career as it is.

But once you look at the literal billions of users Whatsapp has, do you honestly think there's going to be more than 0.0001% of them that are both
1) Willing to stand on principle
2) Able to stand on principle on their current situation in life and career?

Reality is that most people won't even give up being able to contact their friends socially, even if they can do so on many other platforms at literally no cost, and will just click "Accept" on whatever terms Whatsapp sets. It doesn't even needs to be as serious of an example.

You might not think whatsapp is so ubiquitous as to justify just embracing the new policy but this is one part that I might have to clarify for Americans: Whatsapp & Facebook are more widespread outside of the US so if the social pressure argument doesn't seems to be all that valid to you, just remember their install base at this point is aprox 1,500,000,000 users. They can afford for us techies that would even check this website to boycott it for months or years and truth is many raising objections will reinstall and accept out of inertia.
 

Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,748   +1,547
Why 'agree' to do this on your personal and private equipment? If it is important to you, why not isolate and decouple. A cheap and 'good enuf' setup - your old phone on wifi, your old PC on a separate network, etc - and you can stay private and personal.

Maybe we should have a contest for the best 'good enuf' solution.

** Note: I do not Link-in or Fa(r)cebook or Whats(zat)App - so I may be down the rathole on this - if so, please tell. Maybe they have a way of jumping NAT to a secondary network.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 562   +964
Why 'agree' to do this on your personal and private equipment? If it is important to you, why not isolate and decouple. A cheap and 'good enuf' setup - your old phone on wifi, your old PC on a separate network, etc - and you can stay private and personal.

Maybe we should have a contest for the best 'good enuf' solution.

** Note: I do not Link-in or Fa(r)cebook or Whats(zat)App - so I may be down the rathole on this - if so, please tell. Maybe they have a way of jumping NAT to a secondary network.

I assume that objections are more on the principle of it and that everyone already considered a secondary, "sacrifice" device for all things that are invasive like the ones mentioned above and still found that option unreasonable.
 

Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,748   +1,547
@Dimitriid Good point. I can understand how not having the secondary equipment and space and time might put it 'out of reach' for some, but I think the Wild West internet is bring the need for this kind of 'solution' nearer every day.

Perhaps another alternative?
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 562   +964
@Dimitriid Good point. I can understand how not having the secondary equipment and space and time might put it 'out of reach' for some, but I think the Wild West internet is bring the need for this kind of 'solution' nearer every day.

Perhaps another alternative?

Other alternatives are sorely needed but with such a massive user base those start falling into "personal responsability" more than actual solutions: You could encourage people to use other apps for the functionality, use secondary devices if possible, etc. But similar to what I said above, the inertia ends up being a big problem.

For Facebook, it's a big numbers game. As long as they collect the data they need, they probably don't mind a few objections, some new competitors and even circumvention because they are still collecting quite a bit of usable and valuable data.

I am afraid I don't have easy answers as I believe this is part of much bigger issues: Even if the internet is technically free, so many of the big apps and sites are privately operated, accountable to almost nobody and so large they can shape and mold the technically "free" internet into what they want through market forces alone. It goes into politics for me: there is no absolute freedom under a "Free Market" as it always tends towards monopolies and oligarchies so it becomes a defacto authority and hinderance on individual freedom on a fundamental level: Only Zuckerberg, Bezos, etc. Really have the "freedom" to just mold the internet into what they want, nobody else can ever hope to effect any chance because they aren't the literal richest people on the planet.
 

GreenNova343

Posts: 441   +330
I appreciate the sentiment of everybody that basically only sees "uninstall" as the only response, but depending on where you live you might not be able to: I've seen it being used as for example a work tool for teams to stay in touch in place of phone calls for example to coordinate whenever there's no access to "work internet" for example.

The real issue here is how many people have already accepted or will accept because of this kind of huge social pressure to do so: sure nobody is FORCING you to accept Whatsapp or Facebook or Linked in usage, but are you *really* going to miss on positions for jobs or even quit your current job just to prove a point? And are you going to explain this to interviewers "Yeah I quit my last job because they were forcing me to use Whatsapp and they have draconian terms of service I couldn't in good conscience agree to"?

This is how huge companies like Facebook or Apple eventually win: they just become too big to fail, regardless of whatever abusive practices they implement.

Generally speaking, it would require major changes to employee handbooks by HR departments (especially in jobs with unions involved and/or in the public sector) for an employer to require you to suddenly have to start using your own personal equipment & services (beyond the obvious "you're working from home, so you have to use your own Internet") to perform your employer-assigned duties, let alone say, "even though we've already invested in company-provided equipment up until now, if you don't start using your own equipment & services we're going to fire you". Not sure about other countries, but even in "right-to-work" states that's a big risk of lawsuits for being unfairly fired that most HR departments aren't going to want to take a chance on. Not to mention the public/social media backlash were that to be made public.

And what many may forget is that most employers do not want you using your own personal equipment because it opens them up to lawsuits from 3rd parties & customers should something happen to corporate-collected information that is released because an employee's personal equipment was hacked. Someone hacked your laptop & published a list of customer usernames & passwords? Those customers aren't going to sue you, they're going to sue the company because a) it's the corporation's ultimate responsibility to ensure the information is kept safe, & b) the corporation's pockets are much, much, much deeper than any individual peon's pockets (very important in class action lawsuits).

And I'm sorry to say...but any kind of employer that would resort to that kind of tactic ('you need to provide your own cellphone, email, laptop, etc. if you want to work for us") has probably already shown a history of treating its employees poorly and/or maintaining their compensation at the "less than fully employed" level. And when it comes down to it, with the amount of jobs unfulfilled, you always have options. Last time I was in between "good" jobs in my field, I worked for $12/hour in a call center on 2nd shift so I could be available for interviews & job hunting, & we pared expenses back as much as we could. Now, if something happened I could simply go down to one of the local Amazon warehouse & start earning at least $18/hour (possibly more, as even though it's been a couple of decades I have worked in a warehouse environment before) -- & yes, that's 100% possible as my niece (graduated high school last year, no college experience whatsoever) was able to get a job there for that pay. Would it pay as much as my current employer? No, of course not. Would I take it if it was the only job I could find? Yes, because a) it would be lazy to sit around collecting unemployment when I can work, & b) even if I did qualify for unemployment, the Amazon job would pay more than standard unemployment benefits.

But...if you really are convinced that you have no other
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 332   +265
Your post is offensive and derogatory in the extreme - Why do you think it is OK to put people down due to the work they do and their life choices to support their families . Your argument is non-sensical - it implies it everyone makes great choices no matter their country of birth and natural talents - they will have only the bestest of jobs and rewards.
Firstly every values things differently .
Secondly the dice is highly loaded and getting worse - In say the USA the chances of someone born rich becoming poor is decreasing and likewise someone born poor gettin rich is also decreasing.
Often to follow your guideline - would mean uprooting your family from White City NM - where the Whites own all the businesses.
What does your your Mommy do ? - she helps clean the town - LOSER
What does you Daddy do that he can't afford extra curricular activities ? - He is a Social Worker ? - Loser - he horribly stuffed up - don't be like your Loser Daddy

Think before you post hurtful stuff to solely reinforce your value system

I've travelled extensively in America chatting with folks - I remember such conversations like "I work for safeways even though my pay is only X because the hours are very flexible - so I can get more family time and I get Medical for my children "
I also understand America offers lots of night classes for people to reskill etc - and I've been mighty impresses when I see a Solo parent , working, parenting, studying - to get a better life for their kids.

My thinking is not trendy - Compassion, Sympathy , kindness are nothing new .
I luckily travelled 10 years and another 5 working overseas - I enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life - I had no preference
 

PEnnn

Posts: 628   +612
" WhatsApp announced a new privacy policy for non-EU users"

Funny how the EU has privacy laws for its citizens.

And even funnier that even a behemoth like Facebook cannot bribe politicians there to do nothing about privacy.... unlike those politicians in the "Land of the Free" who curse Facebook while accepting FB bribes, I mean, "donations" to get re-elected, and keep doing nothing!!
 

Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,177   +758
I appreciate the sentiment of everybody that basically only sees "uninstall" as the only response, but depending on where you live you might not be able to: I've seen it being used as for example a work tool for teams to stay in touch in place of phone calls for example to coordinate whenever there's no access to "work internet" for example.

The real issue here is how many people have already accepted or will accept because of this kind of huge social pressure to do so: sure nobody is FORCING you to accept Whatsapp or Facebook or Linked in usage, but are you *really* going to miss on positions for jobs or even quit your current job just to prove a point? And are you going to explain this to interviewers "Yeah I quit my last job because they were forcing me to use Whatsapp and they have draconian terms of service I couldn't in good conscience agree to"?

This is how huge companies like Facebook or Apple eventually win: they just become too big to fail, regardless of whatever abusive practices they implement.
Yep I will. WhatsApp required? No thanks. FB plague needs to scale back. Has too much control. Has so little regard for privacy. If you don't care then you are facilitating them.
 

Freddie159

Posts: 85   +49
This is kind of my point: back when I was young, unemployed and without responsibilities, this was my response. Now I have people that rely on me financially.

I could just quit or pass on a job on principle because I refuse to be on a "**** work environment" and such. In fact I sort of did quit a few times in my early 20s just like that. There's always other jobs and you'll "get by"

But at some point, most people that don't have something like a huge inheritance of family business to rely on, will start weighting in those decisions and coming out on the side of "This 'toxic' work environment and draconic corporate policies are ok with me if I get to be gainfully employee in the middle of a pandemic and subsequent economic downturn." There's a surprising amount of things you put up with and your boss expecting you to reply to a whatsapp message (Yes, on your personal phone) instead of giving you a phone call is very, very low on the list of priorities.

This is why the backlash just won't be anywhere near as bad as many of you think it will be, in fact Whatsapp could be far worst and still mostly get away with things.

For me then the key is to use the App as little as possible and when using put as little info in the messages as possible, maybe even with a 'call me if you need further info' especially when using it for non business uses. But if the Boss uses it to ask for info on something of course give it to him just be careful about any private info.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 562   +964
For me then the key is to use the App as little as possible and when using put as little info in the messages as possible, maybe even with a 'call me if you need further info' especially when using it for non business uses. But if the Boss uses it to ask for info on something of course give it to him just be careful about any private info.

It does sounds like the sensible thing to do: You don't use it day-to-day but if your boss sends you a whatsapp message telling you "Hey you're covering another shift tomorrow" using it to read it and reply "Sure" is probably not something to weight in heavily for most people, even if concerned about privacy issues.

And thus, the already widespread app continues to be used regardless of moral objections which was my point. Realistically, most people, myself including but also most of the people lecturing me about how great their jobs are and how strong their convictions are and how they would quit, would probably just do the same and reply, clicking "Ok" on the new whatsapp policy, because most people just don't have the energy to stand on principle over casual use which is still very useful for Facebook.
 

flee2020

Posts: 14   +15
I don't use Facebook (I can't uninstall it on my phone - so I disabled it) and I don't appreciate WhatsApp being tied more closely to Facebook. I shall delete all my conversations in WhatsApp and leave it to them to close my account. Meanwhile, wiping WhatsApp out saw me gaining Signal and Telegram.
 

wizardB

Posts: 198   +77
Even better, I ditched social media of all types. It's amazing how much that public diarrhea interferes with clear thought.