WhatsApp users will not be able to use the app from May 15 after the messaging platform said it will disable chats for anybody not accepting new terms and conditions. 

After 15 May 2021, users will not be able to read or send messages if they do not accept the new policy.

The app will display a banner alert in the coming weeks, which will prompt users to sign up before 15 May.

However, calls and notifications are expected to remain in place for a "short time" after this date.

Although accounts will not be deleted, WhatsApp has warned customers that inactive accounts are generally deleted within 120 days. 

What changes are being made?

The new WhatsApp terms and conditions are in response to a new feature being implemented on the app, which allows purchases and interaction with businesses.

An announcement about the update was made earlier this year, but there was a backlash from some users who thought it meant WhatsApp would be sharing more data with its parent company, Facebook.

However, WhatsApp then clarified that this was not the case and that the update is in order to enable payments to be made.

The messaging service said it has set the date for May as it allows users time to review the changes.

However, there will be a chance to agree to the new conditions after the deadline has passed and have full functionality restored.

WhatsApp said: “To give you enough time to review changes at your own pace and convenience, we’ve extended the effective date to May 15th.

“If you haven’t accepted by then, WhatsApp will not delete your account.”

However, accounts will be listed as ‘inactive’, which means they could be deleted after 120 days.