WhatsApp plans to update its terms of service: what to expect

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Alex Ruhl)

WhatsApp is introducing updated terms of service next year, and if you want to keep using the app you are going to have to agree to the changes. The changes relate to the way in which WhatsApp and Facebook (which owns the app) process user data.

They are due to come into effect on February 8, 2021, but you will be given the chance to agree to the new policy before this date. News of the upcoming changes will be shared with users through WhatsApp's new announcement service.

This newly enabled feature allows WhatsApp to send informative messages to users within the app, ensuring they are always kept up to date with news.

As spotted by WABetaInfo, a banner-style popup will be used to advise users about WhatsApp's impending changes to its terms and privacy policy. Tapping the banner gives users the opportunity to review the changes and agree to them.

While full details of the policy alterations are not yet known, screenshots of the announcement reveal two key changes. The change relate not only to WhatsApp's service and user data processing, but also how businesses are able to use Facebook-hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats.

Like it or lump it

Users are encouraged to accept the changes by tapping a prominent Agree button, but WhatsApp has some advice for those who are unhappy with the updated terms. The company says:

"By tapping Agree, you accept the new terms, which take effect on February 8, 2021. After this date, you'll need to accept the new terms to continue using WhatsApp or you can always delete your account".

The announcement is due to start appearing to users in the coming weeks.

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

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