WhatsApp users complained, mainly because they felt they had no choice but to accept the terms. The chat service decided to move the effective date to May 15. This gave the company more time to provide text and explanations about the renewed privacy conditions.
Anyone who did not accept the terms and conditions before May 15 risked being unable to use their account and eventually even losing it. That caused another commotion. WhatsApp went back on its words and said it would not delete accounts. However, on the support page, WhatsApp reported that users could only use a limited number of features of the chat service after some time. In May, WhatsApp also backed down on these words, saying it would not impose any restrictions on the app’s functionality if users decline the terms.
The authorities also complain that the conditions are not transparent and difficult to understand. It is impossible for consumers to foresee the consequences for their privacy if they agree to the new conditions. “WhatsApp threatens to deny consumers access to the app if they do not accept the terms. While it is not at all clear what they give permission for,” says Sandra Molenaar, director of the Consumers’ Association. “WhatsApp limits consumers’ freedom of choice: if you don’t accept, you can no longer use Whatsapp. Moreover, the contract conditions are not transparent. And that is against the law.”
“Users are confronted by WhatsApp with non-transparent conditions for extensive data transfer,” writes the HmbBfDI. The regulator fears that data sharing under the new conditions can still be introduced step-by-step in the future if users agree to this now.
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