Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced that WhatsApp is bringing three new privacy features to users, giving them more control over their conversations and added layers of protection when messaging.
“New privacy features coming to WhatsApp: exit group chats without notifying everyone, control who can see when you’re online, and prevent screenshots on view once messages. We’ll keep building new ways to protect your messages and keep them as private and secure as face-to-face conversations.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Meta
WhatsApp protects the personal calls and messages of users with default end-to-end encryption, so no one but the intended recipient can hear or see them. But that is just one important part of protecting your privacy. Over the years, WhatsApp has added new layers of privacy protections to give you multiple ways to secure your messages, including disappearing messages that self-destruct, end-to-end encrypted backups when you want to save your chat history, 2-step verification for added security, and the ability to block and report unwanted chats.
Today’s three new product updates join WhatsApp’s growing list of privacy features that users can take advantage of and that provide even more layers of protection, giving users more control over their messages. The new privacy features on WhatsApp include:
Leave Groups Silently
Users will be able to exit a group privately without having to notify everyone. Now, instead of notifying the full group when leaving, only the admins will be notified. This feature starts to roll out to all users this month.
Choose Who Can See When You’re Online
Seeing when friends or family are online helps users feel connected to one another, but everyone has had times when they wanted to check their WhatsApp privately. For the times you want to keep your online presence private, WhatsApp is introducing the ability to select who can and can’t see when you’re online. This will start rolling out to all users this month.
Screenshot Blocking for View Once Messages
View Once is already an incredibly popular way to share photos or media that don’t need to have a permanent digital record. Now WhatsApp is enabling screenshot blocking for View Once messages for an added layer of protection. This feature is being tested and will be rolled out to users soon.
The introduction of these new features is backed by a new WhatsApp privacy study that dives deeper into understanding the role of privacy when having meaningful conversations while messaging. Some of the findings from the global study are as follows:
● 72% of people value being able to speak in an honest, unfiltered way — but more than 47% are only comfortable doing this in a safe, private space. They are particularly cautious online, ranking privacy in their private messages as most important — compared to emails, texts or social media.
● For the times when you need more privacy, 51% prefer to stay hidden online to choose who they want to talk to.
● 91% of people who are aware of blocking features believe they are important.