The app said its roughly two billion users would have until May 15 to review and accept the new policy, otherwise it will eventually stop working for them. The change was previously set to kick in on Feb. 8.
“We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update,” a WhatsApp spokesman said. “There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern, and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts.”
WhatsApp said the new policy isn’t geared to expanding its ability to share data with Facebook but rather to allowing businesses that interact with customers on the app to store those conversations on Facebook servers. The move is a key step in Facebook’s plan to generate revenue with WhatsApp after years of struggling to do so. Businesses will also be able to store user shopping activity on the servers.
User confusion and resistance sowed by the new policy point to the difficulty the service faces in advancing on a profit-generating path. WhatsApp remains a market leader in messaging, but competition among encrypted messaging platforms is intensifying with privacy concerns growing as a major consideration for users.