Popular chatting platform, WhatsApp announced three new privacy features yesterday. These include the possibility of users leaving a group chat without people knowing.
Also, the platform will allow users to control who can know when they are online. It will also prevent people from taking screenshots of chats with other users as well as allow users to read messages without the senders knowing that their messages have been read.
These new updates were communicated through the platform’s Twitter handle, yesterday.
Similarly, CEO, Mark Zuckerberg claimed the business would “keep building innovative ways to protect users’ messages and keep them as private and secure as face-to-face talks” in his announcement on Facebook and Instagram.
So, expect more of these types of updates.
A look at each of the features
WhatsApp already has default end-to-end encryption, so no one but the intended receiver can hear or see them. And, in order to give users more protection, over the years, the app owners have added new layers of privacy protection.
These include disappearing messages, end-to-end encrypted backups- when users want to save their chat history, two-step verification for added security and the ability to block and report unwanted chats.
Now, let me share with you a brief about each of the newly introduced features:
1. Online Presence
This new feature would allow you to choose the people that you want to know when you are online or choose who can see you when you are active. This now means that users now have the power to control who they can be visible to.
Prior to this new update, users could only de-activate their online visibility by switching off their read receipt, whilst they are active. However, they can remain visible when they chat privately. But this new feature will allow you to determine the people that can see you online even if you are in their dm
So, you can send personal messages and they will receive notifications on their end. But they cannot ascertain if you are truly online.
2. Rolling out
Now, you can leave any Whatsapp group silently… no member of the group will receive the notification of your exit, except the group admins.
Until now, when a user leaves a group chat, a notification will be sent to everyone in the group. With the new feature, you can now afford to exit unwanted groups discretely and honourably.
This new feature will be launched this month.
3. Screenshot blocking for view once
The feature is a built-in screenshot blocking for photos and videos. This means that when you send a picture or video to your friends and you designate it as “see-once”, they will not be allowed to take screenshots. So, your secret is between you!
This is. a significant update to what already exists.
WhatsApp already has end-to-end encryption. This feature allows only the sender and recipient of a message can see its contents. And like other private messaging platforms, it already allows users to send messages that disappear after set periods of time.
WhatsApp says it did these for you!
WhatsApp has said that the introduction of these new features is as a result of a new privacy study conducted by the company.
It found out, from the study, that 72% of users want to be able to speak in an honest, unfiltered way, but more than 47% are only comfortable doing this in a safe, private space. While 51% prefer to stay hidden online to choose who they want to talk to, as many as 91% who were aware of blocking features, believed they were important.
According to Ami Vora, head of product at WhatsApp, “No other global messaging service at this scale provides this level of security for their users’ messages, media, voice messages, video calls and chat backups.”
“We believe WhatsApp is the most secure place to have a private conversation. We’re also kicking off a global campaign, starting with the UK and India, to educate people about how we work to protect their private conversations on WhatsApp”, she adds.
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