WhatsApp on Friday extended the deadline to accept its new policy till May 2021. The move comes after the Facebook owned messaging platform faced severe backlash from users with calls to switch to other platforms like Signal and Telegram over WhatsApp's data privacy concerns.
"No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8 and we'll be moving back our business plans until after May," WhatsApp tweeted on January 16, 2020.
The new policy detailed how the platform would how it would process user data, how businesses can use Facebook services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats, more integration of Facebook's other products like Instagram with WhatsApp and what data would be shared with third party users including Facebook. (Read here).
The move was met with severe backlash, with users criticising the messaging platform on how it intends on using their data and not given an option of opting out of the same. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even endorsed WhatsApp's rival Singal in the wake of the controversy.
In a blog post, WhatsApp announced that the update does not affect data sharing with Facebook with regard to personal conversations or other profile information and only addresses business chats if the user converses with a company through WhatsApp.
"We've heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update. There's been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts," said WhatsApp.
On the February 8, 2021, deadline for users to accept the policy, WhatsApp now stated that, "We're now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8."
"We're also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We'll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15," it further added.