The WhatsApp feature allows you to create messages that disappear


Image for an article titled WhatsApp works on offering disappearing photo and video messages on iOS and Android

Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP (Getty Images)

WhatsApp obviously wants to give users a little more control over the photos and videos they share in the messaging app. The company recently introduced a new feature of iOS and Android beta testers that allows them to send messages that are disappearing.

As reported in WABetaInfo, WhatsApp released the “View Once” feature for iOS users on Friday, shortly after introducing it to Android users in at the end of June. The feature allows users to send photos and videos that will disappear from WhatsApp chats once they view them. It seems to be very similar to the feature offered on Instagram i Facebook Messenger,, although Instagram allows senders to allow recipients to view the content once more before it disappears.

And, of course, all of these features build on the formula popularized by the original disappearing media network: Snapchat.

Significantly, according to screenshots taken by WABetaInfo, the app will not prevent others from taking screenshots. The content will disappear in the sender’s chat and the recipient’s chat if View Once is selected. Senders will be able to see if their content has been viewed in the chat by paying attention to the “Open” message. The Android feature was also available for group chats.

“For more privacy, your photo or video will disappear from the chat once the recipient opens it,” the message announcing the feature in the app states. “Remember, people can always take screenshots.”

The retailer reports that WhatsApp will not notify users if recipients have taken screenshots of their disappearing content. That explains That is because there is no safe way to block users from taking screenshots and it is believed that claiming that this makes users offer a false sense of security. Alas, who knows what people would send. Given the things people send in messages even when they know others can take screenshots, this is probably true.

WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally confirmed this feature for WABetaInfo in early June, so it’s safe to say we’ll all get it soon. Zuckerberg also mentioned a “disappearance mode,” which would make all your messages in all chats disappear, and your WhatsApp experience be “short-lived,” he said.

I mean, I guess some really private (or paranoid) people would dig up a way to disappear, but as someone who goes back to WhatsApp messages to find friend addresses and other important information, that would create a big problem for me. Still, to each his own.

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