The company said its roughly two billion users would have until May 15 to review and accept the new policy, which is when the data changes are set to go into effect. If users don’t consent by then, the app will eventually stop working for them, a spokesman said. The previous deadline for accepting the changes was Feb. 8, but WhatsApp said it would “go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace.”
“We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update,” a WhatsApp spokesman said. “There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts.”
WhatsApp said the new policy isn’t geared to expanding its ability to share data with Facebook but rather to allowing businesses that interact with customers on WhatsApp to store those conversations on Facebook servers. The move was a key step in Facebook’s plan to generate revenue with the app after many years of struggling to do so. Businesses will also be able to store user shopping activity on the servers.
The apparent user resistance and confusion about the new policy point to the difficulty the service faces in advancing on a profit-generating path. Even as WhatsApp remains a market leader in messaging, the competitive landscape for private, encrypted messaging platforms is intensifying. Privacy concerns are growing as a key consideration for users.