Facebook backtracks, won't limit WhatsApp over privacy policy

WhatsApp's new privacy policy rollout has been messy and confusing, and it doesn't look like that'll change any time soon. The new policy finally rolled out on May 15 — after Facebook had said that while it wouldn't delete accounts that didn't accept the new policy, those accounts would eventually lose access to some features. Now, only a couple of weeks later, the company has changed its mind.

Facebook announced the new WhatsApp privacy policy back in January, kicking off concerns about privacy and a mass exodus to alternative platforms like Telegram and Signal. The number of users who abandoned the platform seemed to kick Facebook into damage control mode, and that's when the confusing mess started.

In the latest update, it turns out that Facebook won't limit users who fail to accept its new privacy policy. The company said in a statement that it made this decision following 'recent discussions with various authorities and privacy experts.'

However, this appears to only be a temporary decision, with the company noting that it doesn't 'currently' have plans to limit WhatsApp functionality for these users. Instead, Facebook says it "will continue to remind users from time to time about the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook."

The move appears to be one intended to placate both governments and users who have taken issues with the new privacy policy. For example, India recently asked the company to retract its new privacy policy, with the nation's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology claiming that it violates multiple laws.