Global technology major Meta has announced to launch three new privacy features for its instant messaging app WhatsApp. According to the company the new features will give users 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,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.
Zuckerberg further maintained, “We’ll keep building new ways to protect your messages and keep them as private and secure as face-to-face conversations.” At present WhatsApp already has default end-to-end encryption, so no one but the intended recipient can hear or see them.
Over the years, the app has added new layers of privacy protections to give users multiple ways to secure their messages, including disappearing messages that self-destruct, end-to-end encrypted backups when users want to save their chat history, two-step verification for added security and the ability to block and report unwanted chats.
Now, instead of notifying the full group when leaving, only the admins will be notified. This feature will be launched this month, as will the feature to regulate who can and can’t see when you’re online.
WhatsApp is also enabling screenshot blocking for ‘view once’ messages to provide an added layer of protection. The company said this feature is being tested and will be rolled out soon.
WhatsApp said the introduction of these new features is backed by a new privacy study conducted by the company. It found that 72% users value being able to speak in an honest, unfiltered way, but more than 47% are only comfortable doing this in a safe, private space. While 51% prefer to stay hidden online to choose who they want to talk to, as many as 91% who were aware of blocking features, believed they were important.
“No other global messaging service at this scale provides this level of security for their users’ messages, media, voice messages, video calls and chat backups,” said Ami Vora, head of product at WhatsApp. “We believe WhatsApp is the most secure place to have a private conversation. We’re also kicking off a global campaign,”.