Instead of a hard cutoff, the messaging app will gradually degrade and eventually cease to function if you don’t accept the changes.
But not all at once. If you haven’t accepted the new policy by now, you’ll start to see more pop-ups in WhatsApp outlining the changes with a big green Accept button at the bottom. If you tap it, WhatsApp will continue to share certain account data of yours with Facebook. If you’d rather not agree, you’ll at first be able to hit a back arrow in the upper left corner of the overlay. Over time, though, the pop-ups will appear more frequently. Eventually you won’t be able to click away at all, and the app’s functionality will start to degrade.
WhatsApp originally indicated in February that anyone who declined the updates would immediately lose functionality. But the company has since opted to let the wheels very gradually come off the car over several weeks before the app careens into a ditch and stops working altogether.
“For the last several weeks we’ve displayed a notification in WhatsApp providing more information about the update,” the company said in a statement. “After giving everyone time to review, we’re continuing to remind those who haven’t had the chance to do so to review and accept. After a period of several weeks, the reminder people receive will eventually become persistent.”
The strength of the backlash likely caught WhatsApp off-guard, given that it reminded users of an existing policy rather than creating a new one. Mere days after WhatsApp first announced the changes on January 4, the messaging app Telegram said it had gained tens of millions of users, and Signal boasted “unprecedented” growth. In an attempt to staunch the bleeding, WhatsApp delayed the full rollout of the new policies for months so users would have more time to learn about the changes.
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