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WhatsApp Provides More Control And Privacy For Disappearing Messages

WhatsApp disappearing

For some time now, WhatsApp has offered the option of adding an expiration date to chats and other content, after which they disappear again. Now the options for self-erasing messages are being expanded significantly.

Expiration date for chats extended

Do all messages, pictures, and videos in a chat have to be logged there forever? WhatsApp users have only been able to answer no to this question since 2019. The developers had integrated a feature that had been onboard with other messengers for a long time: self-destructive messages. At the beginning of the year, the option was expanded to include photos and videos. Until now, there was a clear restriction: the expiry date must always be set individually for each message. That is fundamentally changing now.

As the WhatsApp developers announced in a blog post, the option for self-erasing messages can now be applied globally to individual and group chats. The corresponding option is available in the latest version of the application for all “new chats”. “This innovation is an optional function, ie existing chats are neither changed nor deleted”, say the developers.

In group chats, the corresponding options are only available to administrators; in individual chats, both conversation partners can make corresponding settings – to be found under “View contact”, “Self-deleting messages”. All partners participating in a chat are informed of the selection. A renewed adjustment of the setting is planned here if you want to receive messages for a longer period of time or for all of them.

New time options

When it comes to ‘message expiration’ dates, WhatsApp offers significantly more options after the update. Previously, you were limited to being able to choose an expiration date of 7 days, but messages can now also self-destruct after 90 days or 24 hours.

WhatsApp formulates quite interesting motives in its announcement of the new deletion options. “We have become too used to the fact that every digital trace we leave on the network is permanently there. It is as if we were keeping meticulous and public records of our lives, always and everywhere.” From a critical point of view, the company – and above all the parent company Facebook/Meta – has of course made a significant contribution to precisely this development.