WhatsApp users can now check their messages without displaying if they are online. They can also exit a group without other members knowing about it. Only the group admin will get to know about the member’s exit in such cases. While these two features will be rolled out this month itself, the third feature, which the popular messaging platform will be introducing once it’s tested, is the users’ ability to block the screenshot option for the view once messages sent by them, the Facebook-owned company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Under the first new feature, users will be able to select who can see them when they are online. Currently, even if users have disabled the blue ticks, which denotes that the message has been read, senders are able to see when the receiver of the message is online.
Similarly, the second feature of leaving the group silently will enhance privacy as currently all the members of the group are able to view who all have exited the group. With the new feature rolling out, any member who does not want everyone in the group to know about the exit needs to activate this feature and only the group admin will come to know about it.
The third feature, which is being tested and will be rolled out later, basically gives the users the facility to leave no digital footprint. Currently also, it’s there in the form of disappearing message but the receiver can take a screenshot of the same and keep in records. Once the new feature gets rolled out, the sender will have the choice of blocking the receiver from taking screenshots of such messages.
The company said that the new privacy related features are being introduced on the basis of study done by it to understand the role of privacy when having meaningful conversations while messaging. Some of the findings from the global study, according to WhatsApp are as follows: 72% of people value being able to speak in an honest, unfiltered way — but more than 47% are only comfortable doing this in a safe, private space. They are particularly cautious online, ranking privacy in their private messages as most important — compared to emails, texts or social media.
Secondly, for the times when one needs more privacy, 51% prefer to stay hidden online to choose who they want to talk to. The third finding is that 91% of people who are aware of blocking features believe they are important.
“At WhatsApp, we are focused on building product features that empower people to have more control and privacy over their messages. 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,” Ami Vora, head of product, WhatsApp, said.
“We’ll keep building new ways to protect your messages and keep them as private and secure as face-to-face conversations,” Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO, Meta said.