On Monday, Delhi high court was told by WhatsApp that its new controversial privacy policy has not been deferred and came into effect on May 15th. It said accounts not complying with the updated policy won’t be deleted immediately and the deadline for the policy to come into effect has not been extended.

“We are still trying to persuade consumers but if they don’t accept slowly, slowly these accounts will be deleted. There is no universal deadline for this,” senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Facebook-owned company, said. However, the Centre, in response, asked the social media platform not to bring in any changes for now and said the new privacy policies of the app violates the Indian Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000.

It was added that the government has written to Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on the issue and a reply is awaited by the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma, appearing for Centre.

This is where things get a bit tricky. WhatsApp says those who haven’t accepted the new privacy policy are still able to use the app after 3 days since the new policy has come into effect and your account won’t be deleted, and as many of you may have seen.

Whatsapp Privacy policy

Users not complying with the policy will be limited to use some of the features and they haven’t lost their current chat history and backup either. In the first few weeks, you can still answer video and voice calls, reply to messages, but you cannot open the chat list because you’ll be welcomed with pop up reminding you of the new terms of service.

You won’t be able to:

  1. Set status updates within the app
  2. Forward messages from one chat to other
  3. Manage and use the broadcast list
  4. Create new groups
  5. Quote messages or tag participants in group chat
  6. Send voice messages, stickers and other media within the app
  7. Manually backup chat history
  8. Export your chat history
  9. Use the Click To Chat service

As your app will be completely disabled, you won’t be able to receive calls and messages, or anything for that matter, if you don’t accept the new terms of service for more than a couple of weeks.

Note that you’ll only be able to access and use it after accepting the terms, even if WhatsApp won’t delete your account and chats. As per WABetaInfo, after a certain period (4 months) due to inactivity, WhatsApp might still delete your account (chats, messages, backups).

If you have accepted the terms of service

It is believed by many users that accepting the new terms and conditions will allow Facebook to gather more of their data, but it’s not the case. While keeping it private just how it used to be, you can still use the app to chat, call or send voice notes to friends and family. However, the change is with how you interact with WhatsApp business accounts.

On WhatsApp, there are two types of business accounts — a special business account that uses cloud providers and a regular business account. In the case of ‘special’ business accounts that use cloud providers, there is a possibility of your chat being used to generate targeted advertisements on Facebook whereas Chatting with a regular business account is just like how we chat with friends and family.

You can always ask for their privacy policy by sending a message before you share any information that can be used to produce targeted ads, as a precautionary measure. Where you have to be very careful if you do care about your privacy is because some business accounts do have bad privacy practices.

Whatsapp News

By noticing a mark at the top of the conversation, these special accounts that use tools to manage and store chat can be recognised. Also, if you use Facebook Shop, your data (like what you see on the platform) might be shared with Facebook. For business accounts, it is an optional feature available. So data related to your behavioural pattern will be kept safe by avoiding the use of Facebook Shop.

Should you accept the terms or not?

A shorter answer is that it’s safe and not a lot will change after accepting, but the bigger picture will bring the argument to an individual choice. Unless you don’t engage with the business accounts that use cloud providers and the Facebook Shop, if you read all the details above, your privacy and data aren’t hampered. You won’t be forced to use them in any case as both are optional features.