WhatsApp bows to angry users with promise to return popular feature

16 Mar 2017

WhatsApp on phone. Image: Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock

The recent introduction of the WhatsApp Status feature has not gone down well with users, so it has now promised to return a fan favourite.

With more than 1bn users globally, WhatsApp has an awful lot of people to please and unfortunately, this doesn’t work out every time.

The latest major update released by the Facebook-owned messaging app introduced the Status feature, which emulated the Stories features of both Snapchat and Instagram.

However, rather than keeping it in touch with its messaging competitors, the update led to outcry from users who hated it – but not for the reason you’d expect.

Judging by the negative reviews left on app stores, many of the criticisms surrounded WhatsApp’s decision to cut the text status update that previously followed a person’s name.

According to Forbes, the company is listening to people’s complaints and, in an unusual decision, has decided to roll back one of the biggest features in its history.

All part of a business plan

As part of an update expected to drop soon, the text status update will return alongside the Status feature.

Commenting on the decision, a WhatsApp spokesperson said: “We heard from our users that people missed the ability to set a persistent text-only update in their profile, so we’ve integrated this feature into the ‘About’ section in profile settings.”

The decision to keep the Status feature all plays into WhatsApp’s plans to begin monetising the app after years of either charging a small amount, or nothing, as it does now.

Last week, it was announced that the app’s developers were testing a way for companies to chat directly with customers, allowing it to charge them for access to the app.

Massive vulnerability patched

In other WhatsApp news, a vulnerability – now patched – has also been revealed by security researchers Check Point.

According to the group, millions of users of the WhatsApp Web platform for desktops were left vulnerable to a phishing scam, which would allow a hacker to take over someone’s account.

To activate the hack, the malicious party would send a fake file to a person and, when opened, they would gain access to all of the victim’s details and media files.

“When Check Point reported the issue, we addressed it within a day and released an update of WhatsApp for web,” WhatsApp said.

WhatsApp on phone. Image: Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic