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WhatsApp adds default disappearing messages for new chats
WhatsApp announced today that it had expanded the privacy control features with the addition of default disappearing messages for all newly initiated chats.
“When enabled, all new one-on-one chats you or another person start will be set to disappear at your chosen duration, and we’ve added a new option when creating a group chat that lets you turn it on for groups you create,” WhatsApp said. “This new feature is optional and does not change or delete any of your existing chats.”
Today, with the launch of default disappearing messages, the company also added two new durations that allow setting up messages to disappear after 24 hours or 90 days.
You can enable disappearing messages by default for all new one-to-one chats on iOS and Android devices by going to WhatsApp Settings, tapping Account > Privacy > Default message timer, and selecting a duration.
However, if you want to permanently have access to one of your chats in the future, you also have the choice to switch back to standard chats where disappearing messages are not enabled.
“For people who choose to switch on default disappearing messages, we will display a message in your chats that tells people this is the default you’ve chosen,” the company added.
“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.”
The company, however, warned that enabling disappearing messages won’t protect them from being forwarded to others by untrusted individuals as they can still be saved (screenshotted or copied) before they’re removed from the chat.
This comes after the introduction of disappearing messages one year ago, in November 2020, with all new messages sent to a chat set to disappear after seven days if the feature was enabled by one of the recipients in one-to-one conversations or by an admin in group chats.
In August, Facebook also added the option to set photos and videos to immediately disappear after being viewed once for additional control over one’s privacy.
Last but not least, ​in October, WhatsApp also rolled out end-to-end encrypted chat backups on iOS and Android to block anyone from accessing chats, regardless of where they are stored.
These changes came after WhatsApp backtracked on earlier decisions to restrict features or delete the accounts of users who disagreed with a new privacy policy requiring them to share their data with other Facebook companies.
“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,” WhatsApp concluded today.
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