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If you don't agree to WhatsApp's new terms, your account will eventually be deleted
[Image: whatsapp-facebook-privacy-update.png]

WhatsApp users who don't agree to the new terms and privacy policy by May 15, 2021, will have their accounts deleted eventually.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp displayed a banner to its users in January 2021 in which it informed them about changes to its terms and privacy policy. At the core of it is a new data-sharing agreement with Facebook.

The initial deadline was set to February 8, 2021. Facebook decided to extend the deadline to May 15, 2021 after it received backslash from users all over the world and the story was picked up by media outlets.

One question that remained unanswered for some times was what would happen to WhatsApp users who would not agree to the new terms and privacy policy by then. Would they have their accounts deleted right away?

A help center FAQ provides the answers to the question. According to the information, WhatsApp won't delete the account right on that day.

Here is the most important information:
  1. WhatsApp will be usable with limited functionality if a user does not agree to the new terms and privacy policy by March 15, 2021. Users will be "able to receive calls and notifications" but they "won't be able to read or send messages" anymore.
  2. The inactive user policy applies to WhatsApp users who don't agree to the new terms and privacy policy. The policy, defined on this page, has accounts deleted after 120 days of inactivity. Local data that is stored on the device prior to the deletion of the account will reappear when users re-register for WhatsApp on the same device, according to the FAQ.
  3. WhatsApp users may export their chat history prior to May 15, 2021. It is unclear if the option is disabled for users who don't agree to the terms after the deadline date.
Competing chat services such as Telegram have introduced options to import Whatsapp chats.

Closing Words

WhatsApp users who don't want to accept the new terms and privacy policy should export their date prior to May 15, 2021 to be on the safe side. It is possible that WhatsApp won't delete the accounts after all if there is enough backlash.

Now You: which messaging service do you use?
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