Image source: BBC News
WhatsApp has recently announced that users would soon be able to transmit disappearing images and videos, adding that the functionality will be available to everyone in the first week of August 2021. Anyone who uses the Facebook-owned messaging app can share a photo or video in “view once” mode, which allows for viewing only once before the material poofs from the chat. When you share media with the option of “view once,” it will appear for only one time and will vanish after it has been viewed by the receiver.
The new function, according to WhatsApp, maybe useful for a variety of purposes other than sending nudes, such as sharing a snapshot of some clothes you tried on or giving someone your Wi-Fi password. The company warns you that just because the photos or video will vanish doesn’t mean someone won’t screenshot them (and you won’t know if they do).
Alison Trew, Senior Online Safety Officer of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said that not everything we communicate needs to become a permanent digital record. Taking a photo on many phones means it will take up space in your camera roll indefinitely. The society is already at odds with WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook over the use of encrypted messaging.
However, similar to vanishing messages on other applications like Snapchat, a user can snap a screenshot or screen recording of the message when it is first accessed – or video one screen with another camera.
Image source: Republic World
The images will not be preserved in the gallery app on a phone. It is not possible to forward, save, share, or star the media. If it is not opened within two weeks, it will expire.
Facebook claims the new tool is a step toward giving users “even greater control over their privacy,” a theme the corporation has been singing since Mark Zuckerberg announced a new “privacy-focused vision” for the firm in 2019. Since then, Facebook has taken a few moves to give users more control over their online privacy, including simplifying audience controls in its core app and enabling vanishing messages in WhatsApp.
In addition, the firm has made a great deal about extending end-to-end encryption to its whole suite of messaging services, which it wants to make compatible in the future. Although WhatsApp adopted end-to-end encryption by default in 2016, the signature privacy feature for Messenger and Instagram may still be years away.