Changes to WhatsApp: 10 days to accept the new terms or lose your account

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Getty Images

Getty Images

The sensitivity around WhatsApp’s privacy terms is especially due to the context of “accept or lose your account”.

WhatsApp is changing and the blame is on Europe’s Digital Markets Act, which determined that large communications companies must open their platforms to third-party chats.

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For now, the new terms affect users in Europe, as the policy is not changing elsewhere. However, the updates are stirring discussions globally and will change how WhatsApp works for everyone. Therefore, it is essential that all users understand these changes and avoid the risks that accompany them.

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The new privacy terms accept European Union laws, which propose that platforms open their walled gardens to other providers and level the minimum age for users on the platform to 13 years old — previously, 16 years old was the minimum age allowed.

There is no additional sharing of personal data with Meta or elsewhere. The new data terms only cover third-party chat facilitation and the legal basis on which WhatsApp shares existing data internationally.

However, it is precisely third-party chats that can cause a privacy challenge for the world’s leading cybersecurity platform.

WhatsApp has warned that your current level of security will decrease as soon as you send a message to one of these third-party services:

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

End-to-end encryption is a security method that makes it impossible to access messages while they are transmitted and received.

“The end-to-end encryption that Meta offers users requires us to control both messages sent and received. While we have built a secure solution for interoperability that uses Signal Protocol encryption to protect messages in transit, without the ownership of controlling clients (endpoints), we cannot guarantee what a third-party provider does with messages sent or received and , therefore, we cannot make the same promise to protect users. We believe it’s essential for everyone to have transparent information about how interoperability works and how it differs from their conversations with other WhatsApp or Messenger users. Customers need to know that our security and privacy promise and feature set will not extend to conversations with third-party providers.”

“By continuing to use WhatsApp after April 11, 2024,” the platform says, “you accept these updates to our Terms of Service,” adding that “if you do not wish to accept, you can learn more about your account options,” which leads to a pretty straightforward one-option message: “You can also easily delete your account if you prefer not to accept our Terms, although we’re sorry to see you leave WhatsApp.”

There’s no reason to delete your account or be overly concerned about the new terms, but you should clearly understand how the new functionality affects you.

Keep WhatsApp’s warning in mind. Proceed with more caution when it comes to a third-party chat than when you are messaging others on WhatsApp. Also be aware of how you will be found on WhatsApp through these other apps. As this becomes clearer, we will provide advice on how to maintain your privacy.

This is not just a European problem. It is a warning that affects all users. When any platform the size of WhatsApp changes in such a public and significant way, scammers and fraudsters come out from under their rocks. There will be email and text message campaigns, both on WhatsApp and elsewhere, tricking users into clicking to join third-party chats or to secure their accounts around the world.

Ignore everything. There are also likely to be copycat scam apps on third-party stores claiming to offer access between WhatsApp and other platforms, and using public media reports to cloak their malicious campaign with a veneer of legitimacy.

Again, ignore everything and don’t click any links or install any apps.


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: WhatsApp days accept terms lose account

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