WhatsApp publishes FAQ on upcoming Disappearing Messages feature
WhatsApp has been working on a new Disappearing Messages feature for the last few months. Evidence pointing towards the feature first popped up back in March this year, and we learned that it would allow users to send messages with a predefined expiration time on the platform. Then, in July, WhatsApp started testing the feature in version 18.104.22.168 beta with a couple of UI improvements and a universal seven-day expiration timer. Last month, we learned that the Disappearing Messages feature would also work with media files, allowing users to share disappearing images, videos, and GIFs on the messenger. As per a recent WABetaInfo report, WhatsApp has now shared additional information about the feature ahead of its official rollout in the form of an FAQ section on its website.
The new FAQ section reveals that WhatsApp users will soon receive a new ‘disappearing messages’ setting on the platform which will allow them to send messages that disappear after a seven days. The section states: “Once enabled, messages sent in the individual or group chat will disappear after seven days. The most recent selection controls all messages in the chat. This setting won’t affect messages you previously sent or received in the chat. In an individual chat, either user can turn disappearing messages on or off. In a group chat, only group admins can turn disappearing messages on or off.”
The section further notes that if a user doesn’t open WhatsApp in the seven day period, the message will disappear. However, the preview of the message may still be displayed in notifications until the app is opened. Furthermore, when replying to a disappearing message, the quoted text might remain in the chat after seven days thereby allowing users to view the content of the message even after it disappears. WhatsApp also reveals that if a disappearing message is forwarded to a chat that has the disappearing message setting turned off, the message won’t disappear after seven days. And finally, if a user creates a backup before a message disappears, the disappearing message will be included in the backup and it will be deleted only after the user restores the backup.
While the disappearing messages feature is undoubtedly a handy addition to the messaging platform, WhatsApp isn’t adding essential security features to prevent users from saving disappearing messages before they’re removed from the chat. The company notes that recipients will be able to save, forward, and take a screenshot of disappearing messages and the sender won’t be alerted of the same. Similarly, media shared using the feature will disappear from the chat but it will remain in the recipient’s device if they have auto-download turned on. And the sender won’t be alerted if the recipient saves, forwards, or takes a screenshot of the media before it disappears.
Along with the new FAQ section, WhatsApp has published concise tutorials for enabling/disabling disappearing messages on Android, iOS, KaiOS, Web, and Desktop. You can check out these tutorials by clicking on the respective link above.