WhatsApp is expanding its disappearing messages feature. The feature was first launched in November 2020, and it gave users the option of having messages disappear after seven days when enabled.
Now, the feature has included the option of having new messages disappear after just 24 hours or 90 days. The Meta-owned messaging service notes that enabling the disappearing messages feature by default won’t influence existing chats, so users won’t have to worry about inadvertently deleting existing messages.
When a new one-to-one chat is initiated, a notice will appear stating that the disappearing messages feature is turned on by default, and users will also have the option of turning the feature off for individual chats. While the feature won’t be enabled on default for group chats, WhatsApp has added the option to enable it when a group chat is created.
This feature, along with the end-to-end encryption, seems to be making a push for better privacy, but users can still bypass the disappearing messages by forwarding the messages or taking a screenshot. Hence, while the expansion of the feature is undeniably another step towards improved privacy, it is far from being foolproof.
As WhatsApp seems to be advocating for disappearing messages to be the new norm, it remains to be seen if the feature becomes adopted as the standard. For users who want to learn more about the feature and how to use it, check out WhatsApp’s FAQ.