You know the feeling: A friend invited you into a WhatsApp group and you're kinda sick of the what's discussed. You decide to leave the group, but WhatsApp notifies everyone of your betrayal. Messages of disappointment are flooding in.
Meta, on Tuesday, said that the instant messaging app WhatsApp is bringing three new privacy features to users, which will give them more control over their conversations and add layers of protection when messaging.1) You can exit WhatsApp groups silently, without notifying everyone. 2) You can also control who sees whether you're online.3) Whatsapp is also enabling blocking screenshots for 'view once'.
The Meta-owned company says it will add the ability to leave groups silently, meaning that administrators will still get an alert but everyone else in a group chat will not. This could be especially useful for larger group chats -- for instance, ones that are themed around an event or a hyperactive chat that you just don't find that engaging anymore.
WhatsApp will also soon let you hide your active online status from specific people, and when enabled the app will not show those selected the exact moments you are available within the app. Currently, the app shows when you are online to anyone who can view your profile within the app. WhatsApp also can show people when you were last active, and that can already be hidden from other people within the app's privacy settings.
The ability to leave groups silently and hide your online status will roll out to WhatsApp later this month, and its third feature -- currently in testing -- will block others from taking screenshots of messages that are meant to be viewed one time. This has been a major issue for apps that encourage ephemeral messaging like Snapchat, which in the past have combatted the issue by sending a notification when a message is copied via screenshot.
While it should help, it's worth noting it's not full-proof: even an ephemeral message can still be captured using a separate device like another phone or camera. Anyone sending sensitive material should still take care even after WhatsApp launches the screenshot-blocking feature.
WhatsApp's new wave of features arrives a month before the expected public release of iOS 16, which is going to update iMessage to include features like editing a message and unsending a message. Both of those iOS 16 features will only work between Apple devices that support iMessage. Unsending a message will work much like how WhatsApp and other chat apps already allow you to delete an existing message, by replacing the previous text with a notification that a message was unsent.