India forces WhatsApp to backtrack on enforcing controversial new policy

WhatsApp’s new policy change isn’t going well.

What you need to know

The Indian government has asked WhatsApp to withdraw its controversial privacy policy.
WhatsApp has not complied but has stated that it will not limit access to users that haven’t accepted the new policy.
WhatsApp will continue to remind users about the new policy, even though "the majority of users … have accepted them."

WhatsApp has stated that it won’t limit user accounts in India for not accepting the privacy policy. The company made the statement (via LiveMint) in response to the Indian government’s request to halt its controversial privacy policy for violating India’s laws.

A WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement that the company is complying with the letter from the Indian government over the new policy while also reiterating that the update doesn’t affect personal messages. "Its purpose is to provide additional information about how people can interact with businesses if they choose to do so."

The spokesperson stated that while user accounts in India won’t be limited, the company will "continue to remind users about the update." This will go on at least until India’s forthcoming Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill goes into effect, which seeks to limit the collection of personal and sensitive data. For now, the company is standing its ground and refusing to withdraw its policy.

WhatsApp’s new policy went into effect on May 15, affecting users on even the best cheap Android phones, although it did not go without plenty of backlash. The company initially stated that it would delete accounts that did not accept the new policy, only to backtrack and instead limit the accounts, making them more or less unusable.

While many have not been happy about the change, WhatsApp has stated that "the majority of users who have received the new terms of service have accepted them." That said, competing apps like Telegram saw a massive influx of new users soon after the policy was announced. Anyone interested in moving their conversations to the new app can follow our guide on how to transfer your WhatsApp messages to Telegram.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp is also facing setbacks in Germany after the country has attempted to block the new policy. If Germany finds the update to be illegal, it could place a three-month block on the new policy. Facebook is considering an appeal of the order.


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