Users will be blocked from screengrabbing disappearing messages, alongside two other updates
WhatsApp has introduced a host of features aimed at helping protect the information they give away.
The new update comes with three main features: users will be able to leave group chats more quietly, and set specific controls on who can see when a user online.
But perhaps the most significant is a new tool that will block people from taking screenshots when messages are sent using the “View Once” feature, which means they will disappear after being seeing. That tool, unlike the others, is still in testing and will arrive soon.
Currently, when a user leaves a group chat a notification appears at the bottom of the conversation telling others in the group who has left.
And while users are already able to turn off a feature which tells others if they have read a message, it has not been possible until now to hide the fact that a user was online and using WhatsApp.
The Meta-owned messaging platform said the new features aimed to keep improving the privacy around online conversations.
Some campaigners have raised concerns about the end-to-end encryption used on WhatsApp and some other platforms to secure conversations, arguing that it can allow criminals to evade detection.
But in a post announcing the WhatsApp update, Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg said: “We’ll keep building new ways to protect your messages and keep them as private and secure as face-to-face conversations.”
Ami Vora, WhatsApp‘s head of product, said the platform was focused on building features that “empower people to have more control and privacy over their messages”.
“Over the years, we’ve added interlocking layers of protection to help keep their conversations secure, and the new features is one way we continue to deliver on our commitment to keep messages private,” she said.
“No other global messaging service at this scale provides this level of security for their users’ messages, media, voice messages, video calls, and chat backups.
“We believe WhatsApp is the most secure place to have a private conversation. And to spread the word about these new features, we’re also kicking off a global campaign, starting with the UK and India, to educate people about how we work to protect their private conversations on WhatsApp.”
Additional reporting by Press Association