How WhatsApp almost ticked us off

Whatsapp | Updated: November 23, 2014 1:27:30 AM

The popular IM service provider finally makes a provision to disable its new ‘read message’ feature, but not before it made hordes of users see red over the ‘blues’

For the uninitiated, the current version of WhatsApp provides enhanced message delivery notificationsFor the uninitiated, the current version of WhatsApp provides enhanced message delivery notifications

I know you read my message! That was the refrain coming from every WhatsApp user worth his or her salt after the popular IM service provider introduced the ‘blue ticks’ feature that notifies people that you have indeed had a glance at their latest message. While it may not seem like that big a deal, the Internet had gone overtly wild in the past few weeks, with the new feature being at the butt end of several jokes and memes.

Not only that, heartbeats stopped, Twitter exploded and several relationships stood on the verge of collapse. Some reports even have it that a man in Saudi Arabia was so hurt (or furious) by his wife ignoring his messages that he decided to divorce her. Ouch! All because of two blue ticks?
For the uninitiated, the current version of WhatsApp provides enhanced message delivery notifications. Whenever you send a text, a single tick mark will appear by it to indicate your message was sent. If you see two ticks, it means your message was delivered, and two blue ticks would mean your message has been read.

While it has proved useful to know who is reading your message and who isn’t, on the other side of the spectrum, it has also made things difficult from the recipient’s point of view, as it compels the user to reply immediately or be answerable to the sender about why the reply has not been sent on time. Sounds like the doom of privacy, doesn’t it?

Would you now be able to ignore messages, or think of replying to them later or rather not replying to them at all? That would be impossible. Lying to the sender, or saying you are too busy, or that you did not receive the message would be out of the question. If you do not reply, and your friend sees the dreaded two blue ticks, then he or she would know at the outset that you have ignored him or her, thanks to those two blue ticks.

However, blue ticks, as per the app makers, would not be visible when a person’s phone is switched off or if he is living in another time zone. They would not be seen in case the recipient is facing network issues or has not opened the messages at all.
There are two ways to check your messages without the ticks appearing alongside. You can check the preview of the message from the notifications and check the whole message later.

After some outcry, WhatsApp has now quietly introduced another new feature that allows you to disable the ‘blue ticks’/read receipts. As per users who were using WhatsApp downloaded directly from the site, the latest version of WhatsApp would allow users to turn off the message read receipts.

The feature is still going to be on by default. But users will be able to go into settings of the app and switch it off.

This is similar to how WhatsApp implements the ‘last seen’ feature. This, too, can be turned off.

However, as it is the case with the ‘last seen’ feature, once you turn off the ‘blue ticks’ feature, you will neither get the read receipts for the message you sent nor people communicating with you would get the read receipts for their message. The idea is that the level of privacy that you seek will also be provided to people you communicate with, whether you want it or not.

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