Facebook announced a few months ago that the upcoming policy changes would require non-European users to accept new terms and conditions or be forced to stop using the service. From the looks of it, Facebook won’t require it from the start, but aims to make the user experience terrible for those who don’t accept.
Facebook caused an uproar when it announced that non-European users would need to agree with new terms and conditions allowing the company to share some of the data from WhatsApp with other services. European regulations would not allow it, so EU citizens didn’t have to agree to new terms.
It turns out that Facebook is not really forcing users to drop WhatsApp entirely, and it’s adopting a more compelling approach, trying to keep the user base as intact as possible. Until now, users received a reminder, which they could dismiss. After May 15, the reminder won’t be dismissible. Steps taken after that will be more drastic.
“You won’t be able to access your chat list, but you can still answer incoming phone and video calls,” says the company in its FAQ. “If you have notifications enabled, you can tap on them to read or respond to a message or call back a missed phone or video call.”
“After a few weeks of limited functionality, you won’t be able to receive incoming calls or notifications and WhatsApp will stop sending messages and calls to your phone,” the FAQ says.
While Facebook says it won’t delete the account, it will limit the application to the point of making it virtually unusable. WhatsApp sharing data with other Facebook services is happening, at least outside of Europe, and Facebook won’t back down.