WhatsApp is adding new features to its “disappearing messages” function. It comes with the ability to make it default for all of your contacts.
WhatsApp is implementing an additional privacy option, with the power to set all of your conversation threads to auto-delete after 24 hours, seven days, or 90 days. But this is despite the growing debate about Meta’s intention to provide crosswise encryption by default in all of its messaging apps.
WhatsApp started offering temporal chatting to its users worldwide a year back. But, you had to individually switch on the “message timer” for each friend by pressing their name and then switching it on. After seven days, WhatsApp erases the chats — but just for that single person. The new mechanism, which launched recently, is more straightforward at disappearing messages to all of your talks.
“When enabled, all new one-on-one chats you or another person start will be set to disappear at your chosen duration, and we’ve added a new option when creating a group chat that lets you turn it on for groups you create. This new feature is optional and does not change or delete any of your existing chats.”
If you enable the default feature, WhatsApp will send a message to your contacts, alerting them of the update. “This makes clear it’s nothing personal. It’s a choice you’ve made about how you want to communicate with everyone on WhatsApp moving forward,” the app noted.
How to activate the WhatsApp disappearing feature?
Users of Android and iOS smartphones can activate the default feature by heading to WhatsApp Settings > Account > Privacy > Default message timer and setting a duration. Users can turn off the disappearing messages feature for particular contacts by tapping the person’s name in the app.
Another change made by WhatsApp is that users can now choose between two different periods for their disappearing messages. 24 hours or 90 days? Up to you.
Important things to note
It’s vital to remember, though, that the messages that disappear will not affect or remove any earlier conversations. The system isn’t perfect either; a contact, for example, can always grab a screenshot of any texts you send.
“If a disappearing message is forwarded to a chat with disappearing messages off, the message won’t disappear in the forwarded chat,” WhatsApp continues. If someone replies to a disappearing message, it can stay for a while.
Users can now share “view-once” photographs and movies that will disappear after they are viewed, in addition to disappearing messages.
Good or bad in messaging anonymity
WhatsApp’s messaging anonymity is crucial, and many users will undoubtedly appreciate this latest advancement. Though duly noted, WhatsApp’s parent company, Meta, is embroiled in several legal issues. It’s about the company’s decision to make encryption the default in Messenger and Instagram Direct chats as it prepares to go global with WhatsApp.
The broader context for Meta is the integration of all of its messaging systems, which will facilitate interconnection. It doesn’t matter if you’re on Instagram and your friend is on WhatsApp. You’ll be capable of communicating with one another on both platforms.
Introducing privacy like this across Meta’s networks, according to several agencies, will help cloak illicit behaviour. How? By making things easier for hackers to gain access and making their acts difficult to detect. If encryption is implemented, no one, including Meta, will be able to watch the substance of private talks. This could make it more difficult for law authorities to hunt down. Moreover, apprehend illegal or criminal groups throughout all three platforms.
To make this possible, Meta will need to either lower the encryption level in WhatsApp or enlighten everyone else. Meta has attempted to reassure users that this will retain an amount of safety, but these methods fall short of addressing the core issues.
The new release tends to come at an unusual juncture, as Meta pushes its privacy options considerably farther in the middle of the endless debate.
To encrypt or not to encrypt?