WhatsApp is borrowing another feature from Facebook's other popular apps, Instagram and Messenger
Redeveloping WhatsApp with the features introduced on Instagram is perhaps the last leg of Facebook’s strategy of unifying all its popular apps. WhatsApp and Instagram now have a host of common features, which are only going to increase in number over time. One important functionality, which Facebook aped Snapchat for, is ephemerality on Instagram, which later arrived on Messenger too. The Mark Zuckerberg-led company is now said to be working on ‘Disappearing Messages’ for WhatsApp. The messages sent in a conversation will be automatically deleted after a certain period, which can be selected from the pre-set drop-down menu.
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The development was first reported by WABetaInfo, which got a hold of the screenshots showing the feature. As per the screenshots, ‘Disappearing Messages’ will be first available for group chats, inside the group settings. For the messages to qualify as ephemeral, the chat needs to be marked as ‘disappeared’. The feature has been discovered in the WhatsApp beta for Android version 2.19.275 and it is disabled for now, says the report. It will first debut for beta testers before making its way to the stable channel on Android. An iOS counterpart is also likely to follow.
The ‘Disappearing Messages’ can be chosen to expire in either 5 seconds or 1 hour, as per the screenshots. There is no option to enter the time duration of the user’s choice, but it could be rolled out based on the reception of the feature after it is rolled out to everyone. It is also being speculated that ‘Disappearing Messages’ will also be made available for private conversations.
Facebook Messenger and Instagram both allow users to send timed posts. Messenger, specifically, has a feature called ‘Secret Conversation’ that enables end-to-end encryption for the chat it is enabled for. The messages sent or received in the ‘Secret Conversation’ can be timed to disappear in up to a duration of one day. The conversation is also logged separately from the regular one to keep the exchanged messages private.