WhatsApp might roll out a new feature that auto-deletes messages on the platform. The feature, dubbed 'Disappearing Messages', is currently in its alpha testing stage and it might be rolled out to the public beta version soon.
Although the messaging platform allows 'permanent deletion' of messages, the new feature is very different than that. The 'Disappearing Messages' functionality will let you schedule group chat messages to disappear after a fixed time which can be set anywhere between 5 seconds or an hour. The deleted messages will have no trace of deletion. They will be deleted only after the recipient reads them, however.
Permanently deleting messages leaves behind a notification which reads 'You deleted this message'.
So in short, the new feature will be similar to what Snapchat has been offering for the last eight years.
The new feature can be used for sending photos, for instance, that a user wishes to be deleted after a few seconds of sending. Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at ESET, in a statement to Forbes said "disappearing messages make a worthy feature within a messaging app if you fear someone at your or your recipient’s end may physically see the message on the device.
This doesn't mean the security of the app will be enhanced. There are still ways to keep records of such self destructive messages.
Instagram already has this feature, so WhatsApp might be testing it because Facebook is working on already integrating the three platforms together.
In other news, WhatsApp, along with other social media apps, will be forced to share users’ encrypted messages with British police under a new treaty between the US and UK. The UK and the US have agreed not to investigate each other’s citizens as part of the deal, while the US won’t be able to use information obtained from British firms in any cases carrying the death penalty.