Privacy updates being rolled out this month will also let users choose who can see them online and prevent screenshots of ‘view once’ messages.
If you’re tired of friends and family being notified when you leave a WhatsApp group chat like a departure being announced in an airport, then a new set of privacy features will be of interest.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today (9 August) that three new privacy features are being rolled out later this month, allowing WhatsApp users to be more discreet while using the messaging app.
This includes the ability to leave a group chat without all participants being notified. Once the feature rolls out, only group admins will be notified when a participant exits, saving people from the potential drama and embarrassment that can come with leaving a group.
Users will also be able to choose who gets to see their online status. The way the app works now, anyone on a user’s contact list can see when they are online – which Meta has now realised isn’t ideal for people who like to keep their online activity private.
The third and final privacy feature on its way prevents users from taking screenshots of messages sent to them through the ‘view once’ feature. Rolled out last year, this feature makes photos and videos disappear immediately after they’ve been seen by the recipient.
Zuckerberg took to Facebook to make the announcement, saying that Meta will “keep building new ways to protect your messages and keep them as private and secure as face-to-face conversations”.
In April, WhatsApp announced a spate of new features such as WhatsApp Communities, reactions and larger file sharing to significantly improve user experience on what is one of the world’s most popular messaging apps.
The latest updates join WhatsApp’s growing list of privacy features such as end-to-end encryption and encrypted backups, block and report, two-step verification and other tools.
However, WhatsApp has been criticised for lack of transparency around how it handles data. Last year, the Irish Data Protection Commission issued its largest ever fine to the platform for breaching transparency obligations under GDPR and ordered it to update privacy notices for European users.
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