WhatsApp Reveals When Account Data Gets Deleted After Inactivity

Various companies that take the responsibility of holding onto vast amounts of user data tend to purge this data if they find that a user has been in active for an extended period of time. However, one thing that a lot of people don’t fully understand is how long they have before a company ends up deleting the various data of theirs that might have been held on their servers. WhatsApp has answered a few questions in this regard, with one of the most important involving the length of time an account can end up being inactive before its data ends up being deleted.

There are basically two lengths of time that are taken into account here which can determine how long it will be before inactivity leads to account deletion. Primarily the number seems to be around 120 days. If an average user does not make use of their WhatsApp account during this time, this will result in account deletion to preserve security and privacy. However, there is a second potential length of time that is much shorter, and this is what users generally seem to be somewhat concerned about.

If a user were to start using a new number, chances are that this number will have been in someone else’s use previously. This person’s data will be kept on servers for a period of 45 days, after which it will be deleted. This does not apply for the majority of users though since when you change your number you generally back your WhatsApp data up which indicates continued activity on your part. All of this information is readily available on WhatsApp’s FAQ page which is where users should go to find out various other pieces of information that might be pertinent to them as well.

One thing that a lot of users might wonder is why WhatsApp deletes their account in the first place. Well, the reason for this often has to do with the fact that data retention among tech companies is a highly unpopular practice. Users usually don’t like the thought of their data still existing somewhere on a company server after they have stopped using the service. Hence, WhatsApp apparently decides to err on the side of caution in this regard.

However, some people tend to criticize WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook for not taking a strong enough stance in the same vein. Facebook does not delete user data regardless of how long they might have been inactive for, and people tend to have a lot of personal data on this platform as well which is why a case can be made that Facebook should follow its own subsidiary’s business practices.


Photo: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE via Getty Images

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