Popular instant messaging service, WhatsApp has added a new feature that gives users better control over their messages and how long they stay visible, with default disappearing messages and customizable durations.
The Meta-owned platform, which has over 2 billion users worldwide, is now offering users the option of having their messages disappear after 24 hours or 90 days, in addition to the seven-day timeframe it first announced last year.
When this option is activated, any new one-on-one conversations that you or another person initiate will be scheduled to disappear after the period of time you choose. When creating a group conversation, WhatsApp has included a new option that allows you to turn it on for the groups you create. This new feature is optional, and it has no effect on any of your current chats.
What WhatsApp is saying
In a blog post, WhatsApp said, “Our mission is to connect the world privately. As more of our conversations move from face-to-face to digital, we acknowledge there is a certain magic in just sitting down with someone in-person, sharing your thoughts in confidence, knowing you are both connecting in private and in that moment. The freedom to be honest and vulnerable, knowing that conversation isn’t being recorded and stored somewhere forever.
Deciding how long a message lasts should be in your hands. We’ve become accustomed to leaving a digital copy of just about everything we type without even thinking about it. It’s become the equivalent of a note-taker following us around making a permanent record of everything we’ve said. This is why we introduced disappearing messages last year, and more recently a way for photos and videos to immediately disappear after being viewed once.”
Living apart from family and friends for over a year has made it clearer than ever that just because we can’t physically talk in person, it doesn’t mean we should have to sacrifice the privacy of our personal conversations. We believe disappearing messages along with end-to-end encryption are two crucial features that define what it means to be a private messaging service today and bring us one step closer to the feeling of an in-personal conversation.”
To get started on disappearing messages, go to your Privacy settings and select ‘Default Message Timer’.
For people who choose to switch on default disappearing messages, WhatsApp will display a message in your chats that tells people this is the default you’ve chosen.
“This makes clear it’s nothing personal – it’s a choice you’ve made about how you want to communicate with everyone on WhatsApp moving forward. Though of course, if you need a particular conversation to remain permanent, it’s easy to switch a chat back,” the company added.