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WhatsApp’s disappearing chat feature: good and bad effects

New timers have been added

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 7, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Posted: Dec 7, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

Source: Screenshot

WhatsApp has rolled out new changes to its disappearing chats feature. The changes will allow users to set a time after which messages in a chat automatically disappear. 

WhatsApp, which is now owned by Meta, says that the option to turn on the disappearing messages feature automatically will be available for all new chats. Users can set the timer to 24 hours, seven days and 90 days. Previously, the timer could only be set to seven days. 

The changes to the disappearing chats feature have been in development for some time. Now, the Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that the changes are being rolled out to general users.

“We’re rolling out a new disappearing messages option on WhatsApp today so you’ll be able to make all new chats disappear by default after 24 hours, 7 days, or 90 days. Not all messages need to stick around forever,” wrote Zuckerberg in its Facebook post. 

WhatsApp has said that the new feature won’t affect previously sent messages.  

The feature is available for both, one-on-one and group chats. In a group chat, any participant can turn disappearing messages on or off. However, a group admin can change settings to allow only admins to turn disappearing messages on or off. 

How to activate disappearing chat feature on individual chat? 

To turn on disappearing message, go to the chat and tap the profile picture icon on the top left corner. From the menu, tap “Disappearing messages”. Choose the time period after which you want the messages to disappear.

Criticism on new feature

This feature, added with the company’s plan to extend end-to-end encryption to Instagram and Messenger, has drawn criticism from child safety campaigners. 

The UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said the move was “poorly thought out” and would create a “toxic cocktail of risk” 

“This poorly thought-out design decision will enable offenders to rapidly delete evidence of child abuse, making it even harder for law enforcement to charge offenders and protect children,” said Andy Burrows, head of child safety online policy at the NSPCC. 

In November, WhatsApp said that its plan to bring end-to-end encryption to messages sent or received on Instagram and Messenger has been delayed to 2023.  

Earlier, the company said that encryption would be implemented by 2022. 

Currently, the end-to-end encryption is implemented only on WhatsApp chats  

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One Comment

  1. Mustujab  December 17, 2021 5:10 pm/ Reply

    I think the child organization is right not only for child abuse infact this feature is a key of crime and evidence removing feature it will help those minds who want to take revenge and do abusive things through WhatsApp and no one will have the proof of their reality and Truth

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