WhatsApp issues ultimatum: Accept new policy or lose basic functionality
WhatsApp has been 'explaining' policy changes, introducing new features
The delaying tactics bought WhatsApp time to explain itself. The platform attempted to rephrase its policy and rolled out many feature updates. Most of these features mimicked those available on rival messaging services and the explanations provided for policy changes didn't seem convincing. Now, in support documentation spotted by Bleeping Computer, WhatsApp said it will actively restrict functionality after the May 15 deadline.
WhatsApp will repeatedly remind users to accept the updated policy
WhatsApp will allow people to continue using its services for "several weeks" even if they don't accept the changes. The platform will continue sending reminders, which will eventually become a persistent notification. However, pay close attention to the opening statement of the support document. Users technically won't lose functionality or their accounts on May 15. Anything after that is a fair game.
Eventually, users will be restricted to answering incoming calls, messages
Once users receive a persistent notification reminder, WhatsApp will deny users access to their chat list. It said that users will still be able to answer incoming voice and video calls, return missed voice and video calls, and respond to messages if the other person messages first. WhatsApp said that "this will not happen to all the users at the same time."
WhatsApp has good reason to deny feature access gradually
Essentially, WhatsApp's phased feature elimination is akin to terrorists taking hostages. They need to kill a few to drive their point across while still retaining their bargaining power. The psychological impact of this move compels other hostages and relevant authorities to comply. WhatsApp's plan works by making the platform unusable for a few, while hoping the FOMO factor scares the rest into compliance.
Apparently, one must forego WhatsApp altogether to refuse updated policy
WhatsApp's brute-force move could backfire in spectacular fashion
However, the Facebook-owned messaging service mentioned that accounts would still be irreversibly deleted after 120 days of inactivity according to its existing policy. We think WhatsApp's strong-arm tactics will further accelerate the ongoing migration of users to rival messaging services such as Signal and Telegram. Not to mention, Facebook's recent data breaches and dodgy remarks at congressional hearings haven't helped its brand image either.