Users of contemporary text-messaging application, WhatsApp, may soon get the ability to have their messages self-destruct after a set period of time. That’s according to a highly reliable tipster who spotted the feature combing through the code of a beta version of the app.
The feature was spotted in the recently released public beta version of WhatsApp – dubbed v2.19.275 – by the technology website WABetaInfo. The self-destruct option was uncovered by combing through the code of a beta version of WhatsApp.
How will this Work?
At present, when the chat is marked as “disappeared” all messages will be automatically removed after a certain interval.
Messages could be set to self-destruct as soon as five seconds after they have been sent and as late as an hour.
The user can mark the chat as “disappeared” enabling the option “Disappearing messages”, in Group Info (when the feature will be available for everyone). After enabling this option, any message will be automatically removed and there will be no tracks available in the chat about deleted messages:
For Facebook-owned WhatsApp, the introduction of such an option will come on the back of a similar feature launching on its sibling app, Facebook Messenger. However, in the case of Messenger, the secret chat feature only encrypts end-to-end messages between two users. Such encryption of text and multimedia messages is default on WhatsApp.
Disappearing messages could be useful to anyone who needs to send a sensitive piece of information that they don’t want to be permanently available. Users of the messaging app Telegram have seen a similar feature before which lets you send self-destructing messages using the app’s Secret Chats feature. Gmail also added a similar feature in its redesign last year.
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As of now, WhatsApp is testing the feature in a group setting that supports participation from multiple individuals. Messages could be set to self-destruct as soon as five seconds after they have been sent and as late as an hour. Additionally, an image shared by WABetaInfo shows that group administrators will have the ability to prevent other participants in the group from texting.
Currently there are no concrete details on when the feature might be available for everyone, or what capabilities it will eventually have. But the promise of a little bit more security in the world’s most popular messaging app is no bad thing.