Meta has revealed new WhatsApp privacy features. Users will be able to secretly exit group chats, select who can view their online status, and block screenshots on View Once messages.
According to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, this will help maintain WhatsApp chat “as private and safe as face-to-face discussions.”
It will start rolling out the features this month, emphasising them in a global campaign that will begin in the United Kingdom.
By default, the popular messaging app notifies all members of a group chat when someone leaves or is removed.
While it is possible to disable this for individual group conversations, the option to quit silently is not displayed to users when they select to “exit group,” which can cause awkwardness, embarrassment, or drama for individuals attempting to depart unnoticed.
Users will be able to leave without contacting other group chat users, only alerting group admins, thanks to recent revisions.
Ami Vora, the platform’s product leader, explained that it was part of the platform’s commitment on “developing product features that empower individuals to have more control and privacy over their messages.”
“We believe WhatsApp is the most secure place to have a private conversation,” she said.
“No other global messaging service at this scale provides this level of security for their users’ messages, media, voice messages, video calls, and chat back-ups.”
Users will also have the option of allowing only select contacts – or no one – to see when they are active on the site, bringing online status options in line with “last seen” settings.
Janis Wong, research associate at The Alan Turing Institute, told BBC News: “It’s always nice to give users more control – users like, and need to have, more control.”
However, until users are pushed to utilise the capabilities or are made fully aware of them in the app, she believes their influence will be limited.
“If it’s not default, or if users aren’t prompted to reconsider their options, then it’s not necessarily very useful – if users aren’t aware this is something that they can do,” she said.
Snap also unveiled new app features for rapid image sharing, as well as upgrades to its messaging service Snapchat, on Tuesday. The company has introduced a Family Centre, which expands on kid safety safeguards by giving parents more control over their child’s app experience.
However, this will not be implemented until both parents and Snapchat users accept invitations to the supervisory hub. Parents can use Family Centre features to check who their child is friends with and conversing with, but they cannot read message content.
According to Jacqueline Beauchere, Snapchat’s global head of platform safety, the Family Centre seeks to provide parents with “a window into their teen’s online life.”
“For parents, we know understanding how their teens are interacting online is important,” she said. “We hope these tools will empower both parents and teens, and boost online safety and wellbeing.”
The in-app Family Centre will also allow parents to independently report Snapchat users who contact with their child or engage in worrisome behaviour.
Teen users will be able to tell parents of any accounts or content they have reported beginning in the fall.
(Adapted from TechcCircle.in)