Can I keep using WhatsApp without accepting their privacy policies?

WhatsApp’s new controversial privacy policies have been in the news lately and a hot topic of discussion among its users. Some users worry that the new privacy policy would allow WhatsApp to share the private messages to its parent company Facebook, which would be used for targeted marketing. WhatsApp has been informing users and releasing press notes explaining its stand.

WhatsApp prompts explains that the new privacy policy does not affect users’ private message as they are encrypted end-to-end. The information will only be used for business features. But a lot of its explanation is still ambiguous, and there are many doubts among the everyday users. For now, I too feel it’s unclear how Facebook Inc. is going to use the data that WhatsApp will share with it.

So now the question arises can I keep using WhatsApp without accepting the new privacy policies? 

If you have been using WhatsApp regularly, it’s clear that since the last few weeks, it’s been flashing the prompt to accept the new privacy policy every time you start the application. According to WhatsApp, this reminder prompts will gradually become persistent. The company expects that most users will accept the policy in these few weeks, and their job is done.

Many users hurry to open the app, click on the button without reading the prompt, and don’t realize that they have accepted the new privacy policy. Suppose you are among the set of users who carefully read before clicking and have not received the policy and don’t wish to accept the privacy policy, according to WhatsApp stand till now. In that case, you will lose access to your WhatsApp account gradually. After a few weeks, the prompt you can close now without accepting the policy will stay persistent if you don’t get the policy. This way, you will not be able to access certain functionality of WhatsApp.

It is also announced that later even that restricted access too will stop if you still don’t accept the new privacy policy. Indirectly, if you don’t wish to accept the new privacy policies, you will have to stop using WhatsApp and switch to some other messaging app. 

Is it safe to accept the new WhatsApp privacy policies? 

For now, it’s like if you don’t accept the new privacy policies, you will have to leave WhatsApp. If you want to keep using WhatsApp, you will have to accept the new privacy policy. What will happen if you accept the new privacy policy. According to the information shared by WhatsApp on this front, these changes are not going to have any impact on the user’s privacy of messages, and it is as-is.

The changes to the policy are more related to the business message. It is not yet clear to everyone how businesses and Facebook will use it. So what one can do is if you feel staying on WhatsApp is essential for you and is not sure what to do, what one can do is accept the new privacy policies. You will know if the information shared by WhatsApp to Facebook is causing too many privacy breaches like too many ads etc. You can permanently delete your account with WhatsApp any time after that. WhatsApp has the feature of deleting the account and all the data that is related to that account. You can opt not to stay on WhatsApp later whenever you wish to realize it was a mistake to accept the policy. 

Those who don’t have any compelling reason to stay on WhatsApp can avoid accepting the new terms and delete the account by visiting the WhatsApp settings. While deleting the WhatsApp account, there is an option to export your chat data from WhatsApp and store it to import it to other messaging apps. 

Sanjay Katkar

Sanjay Katkar

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