WhatsApp is well on the way right now, with lots of new features as it seeks to maintain its lead over Apple’s iMessage and Google’s Android Messages RCS rollout, not to mention Facebook Stablemate Messenger and Upstart Signal. And while a lot of these new features aren̵
Now we can apparently add a third update to this list. We have known for a while that WhatsApp plans to bring disappeared messages to the platform’s 2 billion users. Signal catching up allows users to schedule their chats so messages disappear after a few days. If you’re a ghost or a dissident, this is a neat trick. However, for most of us, it’s pretty intense and can be extremely irritating. Finding data that no longer exists is frustrating. There is no need for Android Messages or iMessage to jump on board This special option.
There is one exception, however: media attachments. Whether it is a picture or a video, this is the data we are most likely to regret and would most like to slip into the past without reappearing later to haunt us. In addition to badly advised videos or photos, there are also the comedic or conspiratorial media attachments that we send and that have been forwarded countless times despite the efforts of the platforms.
The latest code leaking through the irrepressible WABetaInfo indicates that WhatsApp is developing this much-needed media disappearing feature. On the surface, this is the same as the kind of casual functionality that Snapchat and Instagram offer, but is actually more significant. Compromising messages are more media than text and nowhere more so than on market leading WhatsApp.
According to WABetaInfo, “the media disappears in the recipient’s phone as soon as the user leaves the chat, if he chooses to send an expiring medium (pictures, videos and GIFs). When the feature is enabled, the user can tap the new button to send the media with the expiration date. The picture disappears completely after displaying. “All of this means that you can see the picture or video, but you cannot forward or save it and it does not stay in your chat history to view again later.
It remains to be seen whether WhatsApp will also introduce a Snapchat-like warning if a recipient takes screenshots of missing media – always the weakness with expired texts or media. However, if you are sending something and then relying on a platform’s expiry facility to avoid being compromised, you probably shouldn’t send it in the first place.
WhatsApp usage has increased dramatically amid coronavirus bans and restrictions. Among other global messenger services, the groups and advanced video calling have kept users in touch with each other. But I suspect almost everyone reading this has sent or received humorous or viral media that would have been better with you take a look and don’t forward Frame.
Our chat histories will soon be more secure.