WhatsApp’s Latest Feature is Holding Your Chats for Ransom!

WhatsApp’s Latest Feature is Holding Your Chats for Ransom!

Update 4 June 2021: WhatsApp has informally retracted its policy to limit features for accounts unwilling to accept their new terms of service. The information on this page is outdated and only kept for historical purposes.

WhatsApp’s controversial new Terms of Service update will begin rolling out on May 15. Users who do not accept the new ToS will have vital features and access to their chat logs gradually restricted. If you are not a fan of the new policy, back up your chats ASAP!


Back in January of this year, WhatsApp came under fire prior to a scheduled policy change. The new Terms of Service would mandate sharing data with Facebook and its other product/subsidiaries. Users who did not accept, would no longer be able to continue using the app. Many users felt that this encroached on their privacy and outrage ensued.

In the end, the ToS update was pushed later into the year with similar terms, albeit improved clarity. As the calendar rolls to May 15 these new ToS will gradually come into effect. We are told, WhatsApp will progressively restrict more features from users who refuse to accept these new terms. This includes only being able to respond to calls and chat messages as well as hiding chat logs!

You read that right, WhatsApp will be able to keep all your message history and family photos away from you, if and until you agree to the new terms. The good news is that these restrictions won’t hit immediately on the 15th. A clarification made in response to an inquiry from Tech Crunch, states that the log-block will show up at an unspecified point past May 15th.

It should be noted that the updated ToS changes are still not popular with everyone, with German regulators going so far as to issue an order banning the proposed terms. So if you’ve got any birthday photos or study notes lying in group chats, now would be the ideal time to make a copy.

To learn more about how to export/migrate your WhatsApp data, check out our WhatsApp Emigration Guide.

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