WhatsApp has announced new features that are intended to improve the privacy of its users. With one of the new features, WhatsApp users will be able to leave WhatsApp groups without other group members knowing.
“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 of Meta, revealed.
With the “Leave Group Silently” feature, when a group member leaves a group, it will not be announced in the group chat for everyone to see. However, the group admin will be notified when any member decides to leave silently.
Aside from the ability to leave groups silently, other privacy features added to the app will allow users to choose which contact is able to see whether the are online or not.
“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,” WhatsApp said.
Users that have this feature activated will be able to be online and use the app without their presence being noticed by their contacts.
In addition to the features discussed above, WhatsApp will also be adding a feature that block contacts from taking screenshots of messages using the “View Only Once” feature. “View Once” has been a handy privacy feature that delete messages, especially media files, after it has been viewed once. This clears away media that don’t need to be retained longer than it should be.
“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,” WhatsApp said.
WhatsApp’s new army of privacy features comes after a study by WhatsApp, where the company found out that about 72% people prefer being able to speak honestly, and in an unfiltered manner. The company also found out that 47% of the people that want to speak honestly, are only comfortable doing that when in a safe and private place.
“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. That is why WhatsApp is introducing new layers of protection that enable users to speak freely and have private conversations,” WhatsApp added.
Speaking in the company’s commitment to privacy, WhatsApp Head of Product, Ami Vora, said:
“At WhatsApp, we’re focused on building product features that empower people to have more control and privacy over their messages. Over the years, we’ve added interlocking layers of protection to help keep their conversations secure, and the new features is one way we continue to deliver on our commitment to keep messages private.”
These privacy features are scheduled to begin rolling out to all users this month.