WhatsApp Is Growing Despite Months-Long Backlash Over Policy Update

It’s safe to say that WhatsApp doesn’t have a 2021 standard start. In less than a week of the New Year, Facebook proprietary instant messaging app has already annoyed thousands of users with its terribly loud notifications about a planned policy update.

The response grew rapidly and millions of people, including a few high-profile personalities, began to discover rival apps Signal and Telegram. Even governments, including India – the largest market for WhatsApp by government users – have expressed concern. The response prompted WhatsApp to provide users with multiple explanations and reassurances, and it postponed the deadline for the planned update to take effect within three months.

WhatsApp Is Growing Despite Months-Long Backlash Over Policy Update

Now, just one week after the May 15 deadline, we’ve been able to demonstrate the real-world impact that WhatsApp’s has had on the user base. Most users who have notified WhatsApp of planned updates in recent months have accepted the update, a WhatsApp spokesman told TechCrunch. And the app continues to grow, adding spokes without sharing exact statistics.

The company also did not share how many users were notified of the planned update. Facebook’s most recent earnings call gives us some insights: As of March 31, 2021, the application firm had 3.45c billion monthly active users in its family, up from 3.3 billion on December 31 and 3.21 billion on September 30.

As TechCrunch has previously stated, users who do not agree to the new terms will not lose access to their account or any features on May 15, WhatsApp said. After an indefinite week, however, such users will lose several key functions – albeit not at the same time. 

“We will provide reminders to those users within WhatsApp in the coming weeks,” the spokesman added. Since 2016, WhatsApp’s privacy policies have allowed the service to share certain metadata, such as user phone numbers and device information, with Facebook. The new terms allow Facebook and WhatsApp to pay and share transaction data as Social Awakening expands e-commerce offers and seeks to integrate its messaging platforms.