WhatsApp continues work on its upcoming self-destructing image feature
But it's as useless as the Disappearing Messages feature
After rolling out Disappearing Messages last year, WhatsApp is preparing to add a similar feature for images. The upcoming feature will let users share self-destructing images on the platform, which will disappear for both parties after a pre-defined time period.
Reliable WhatsApp features tracker WABetaInfo first spotted the upcoming feature a few months ago, and they recently shared an update confirming the feature is still in development. Here are a few screenshots showing the feature off in its current iteration. We can finally see what the feature will look like on iOS.
As you can see, the feature will add a new toggle next to the text box in the image preview window. Tapping on this toggle will bring up a toast that states: “This media will disappear, once you leave this chat.” Users will then be able to share the image and it will automatically disappear as soon as they leave the chat. Those who receive a self-destructing image will also be alerted of its evanescence. Upon opening such an image, they will see a notification with the same message.
WABetaInfo further reveals that WhatsApp won’t allow users to export self-destructing images. However, the Facebook-owned messenger has not included any measures to prevent recipients from taking a screenshot of such an image. It also won’t alert the sender if the recipient takes a screenshot of the self-destructing image. This sort of half-baked implementation will render the feature completely useless.
While WhatsApp could add these security measures to deter recipients from taking a screenshot of the image before it expires, it’s quite unlikely. “Why?”, you might ask. Because the messenger still hasn’t added any such measures to prevent recipients from taking screenshots of disappearing messages. To me, it seems like WhatsApp is only adding these features to give users a false sense of privacy and stop them from migrating over to other messengers that not only offer such features but also have security measures in place to prevent recipients from saving the contents of disappearing messages and taking screenshots of self-destructing images.
This article was updated at 1:00 PM ET on March 3, 2021, to state that this feature was first discovered several months ago but is still in development.