WhatsApp will prevent users who don’t approve of its new privacy rules from sending and receiving messages. If users don’t agree by 15 Mav their account will be listed as inactive, although they’ll still be allowed to make calls “for a short while”. WhatsApp can delete inactive accounts after 120 days, meaning affected users could be removed in mid-September. WhatsApp’s announcement of its new terms in January sparked a backlash as users interpreted them to mean that it would share its messages with its parent company Facebook (as explained in Issue 599, pages 60-61). Millions of worried users switched to rival messaging apps. such as Telegram and Signal. WhatsApp responded by delaying the introduction of the rules, saying it had fallen victim to “misinformation” spread online. It then published adverts claiming that it “respects and protects your privacy”. It stressed that any data it shares with Facebook does not include messages you send, groups you belong to, or logs of calls you make. Instead, it says the updated rules allow companies to add WhatsApp chat options to their Facebook pages, making it easier for you to contact them directly. To explain the changes, WhatsApp is sending an alert that will appear at the top of your Chats page. Tap this and you’ll first see a screen with information about “some things to know”, including that WhatsApp “can’t read or listen to your personal conversations” because they are end-to-end encrypted (E2E).
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