Keep in mind that your private messages remain end-to-end encrypted and therefore are still secure, and will continue to be, after WhatsApp’s new policy comes into place.
What is the May 15 deadline?
WhatsApp originally meant to forcefully implement the new policy from February 8 this year. However, after facing major flak for the poorly worded policy and the ultimatum-like nature of the acceptance deadline, WhatsApp was forced to push the date back to May 15. Now, the service has stated that users will have until May 15 to accept the new terms, beyond which the user experience will actually start get restricted.
What happens if you don’t accept the new terms by May 15?
Users who refuse to accept the new privacy terms will still be able to use the app for another 120 days. However, during this time, the functionality of the messaging application will be limited. “For a short time, you’ll be able to receive calls and notifications, but won’t be able to read or send messages from the app,” the official WhatsApp FAQ page states.
If users still do not accept the new privacy terms by the end of the 120 days after May 15, WhatsApp will delete that user account. These accounts will lose all their WhatsApp chats and groups. If you want to use WhatsApp with the same phone number after that, you will have to create a fresh account and start from scratch, but that too will require you to first accept the new privacy terms.
As of writing this story on April 15, WhatsApp remains steady on the May 15 acceptance deadline. While unlikely, it is still possible that WhatsApp chooses to push back the date further or ends up revising its new terms. Facebook continues to face flak from entities, including the Indian government over the issue and it remains to be seen if the pressure will force the policy or deadline to be modified in any way.
For most people concerned with communication-level privacy, accepting or not accepting the new terms will not make a difference. WhatsApp or parent company Facebook will still not be able to peek into user’s messages or other personal data.
For people who remain concerned about what they will share with the app on a more granular level, beyond just messages and media, the best thing to do right now would be to wait. It is worth noting that there is no way to undo your action once you accept the policy.