Disappearing Images and Videos: WhatsApp has taken its cue from the original Snapchat project by adding a new option to disappear photos and videos, whereby these visual elements automatically disappear after opening, giving users another privacy option.
New feature alert!
You can now send photos and videos that disappear after they’ve been opened via View Once on WhatsApp, giving you more control over your chats privacy! pic.twitter.com/Ig5BWbX1Ow
— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) August 3, 2021
Wow, really? Snapchat only did this in 2011?
Scoffing remarks aside, the new process will provide another way to communicate on WhatsApp that can be used to share private information such as passwords and the like.
But it will actually be used to send nudes. We all know that.
As WhatsApp explained:
“Like all private messages you send to WhatsApp, View Once media are protected by end-to-end encryption, so WhatsApp won’t be able to see them. They will also be clearly marked with the new ‘Once’ icon.”
WhatsApp has been developing this option for some time, and various examples of the feature being tested have leaked online. And while it is very similar to Snapchat’s disappearing messages, there is one major difference – WhatsApp users will not be notified if someone takes a screenshot or recording of screen content.
WhatsApp has been under pressure lately because of perceived changes in its approach to data privacy and ties to parent company Facebook.
Many users deleted the app earlier this year after WhatsApp announced that it would soon share more user data with Facebook in order to improve its business tools. Since then, WhatsApp has tried to provide clearer information about the changes in response to the feedback (to be clear, your private messages are not affected), but there seems to be a continued lack of trust in the app and its future plans for data sharing.
In this respect, the disappearance of content can be seen as a way to regain some of the audience’s trust by improving privacy tools, as well as adding a more fun and engaging way to share specific updates and increase in-app interaction.
Functionally, this isn’t a big revelation, as several messaging apps have been providing similar features for a long time, but it’s another element to consider in WhatsApp, which is the most used messaging app in the world.
The new option applies to all users starting this week.