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WhatsApp rolls out disappearing messages for all users


SAN FRANCISCO: WhatsApp has rolled out the feature allowing all users to send disappearing pictures and videos.

The feature has moved from the beta phase and anyone using the Facebook-owned messaging app can share a photo or video in “view once” mode, allowing a single viewing before it disappears. The videos and pictures shared with “view once” selected will show up as opened after the intended audience takes a peek.

Users can use the feature to send a photo that disappears as soon as the receiver opens and closes the photo on the WhatsApp app. The company reminded that just because the photos or video will vanish, that doesn’t prevent someone from taking a screenshot.

Moreover, the disappearing photo will not be automatically saved in the gallery of the receiver, unlike other photos and videos.  After opening the image, the recipient won’t be able to view the photo or video, shared with the disappearing option on, for the second time. The recipient won’t be able to save, star, or share ‘disappearing’ photos or videos.

The feature was initially launched by Snap Inc in its popular social media app Snapchat.  Facebook introduced the ‘view once’ photos on Instagram and now on WhatsApp.

Facebook says the new feature is a step to give users “even more control over their privacy,” a song it’s been singing since Mark Zuckerberg first declared a new “privacy-focused vision” for the company back in 2019.

 Facebook has made a few gestures toward letting people wrest control of their online privacy since then, streamlining audience controls on its core app and enabling disappearing messages in WhatsApp.

The company has also been talking a big game about bringing end-to-end encryption to its full stable of messaging services, which it plans to make interoperable in the future.

WhatsApp enabled end-to-end encryption by default back in 2016, but for Messenger and Instagram, the hallmark privacy measure could still be years out.

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