The popular messaging platform WhatsApp has released a disappearing messages setting that deletes messages from chats 7 days after they’re sent.
Ephemeral messaging or disappearing messages has been made popular by Snapchat, where messages and videos have a short expiration date. Instagram has also played in the space, which Stories that last 24 hours and videos and pictures in DMs that can be set to disappear after they’re viewed.
WhatsApp is now testing a similar feature. Users, if they’d like, can set their messages to disappear after 7 days. This is the only time limit available but WhatsApp is planning to offer more options in the near future. Note that the 7-day limit begins after the message is sent, not when it’s read. And while users can set their messages to disappear, only group admins can turn that feature on for group chats.
While this kind of feature was available on other platforms, such as the previously mentioned social media apps as well as Telegram and Signal, WhatsApp had to take more time to ensure that the feature was available while still keeping messages end-to-end (E2E) encrypted to ensure communications were private.
If you’re not already using a dedicated E2E encrypted messaging app like Signal, WhatsApp is a strong alternative (if you can look past Facebook’s ownership of them).
WhatsApp already provides encrypted messaging for any communication between two WhatsApp users and this new disappearing messages features a little more control over your messages’ privacy. However, as is the case with any disappearing communication, a recipient can still take a screenshot or screen record of any message or video, even if it’s meant to disappear after viewing or after a certain amount of time.
These features don’t stop that so practice caution when sending very sensitive messages and be aware that they can still be captured and accessed even after they disappear.
For more details, visit TechCrunch.