WhatsApp users are being given the option to turn on disappearing messages by default when they start a new chat, the messaging platform has said.
The update will also see users able to choose after how long messages disappear: 24 hours, seven days or 90 days.
Currently, users can turn on disappearing messages for individual conversations, which sees them deleted from the chat after seven days – this latest update will enable users to turn on the feature across all new chats that begin after it has been activated.
WhatsApp confirmed the new feature is optional and does not change or delete any existing conversations.
The company said the change has been made to give users more choice over how to protect their privacy.
‘For people who choose to switch on default disappearing messages, we will display a message in your chats that tells people this is the default you’ve chosen,’ WhatsApp said in a blog post.
‘This makes clear it’s nothing personal – it’s a choice you’ve made about how you want to communicate with everyone on WhatsApp moving forward. Though, of course, if you need a particular conversation to remain permanent, it’s easy to switch a chat back.
‘Living apart from family and friends for over a year has made it clearer than ever that just because we can’t physically talk in person, it doesn’t mean we should have to sacrifice the privacy of our personal conversations.
‘We believe disappearing messages along with end-to-end encryption are two crucial features that define what it means to be a private messaging service today, and bring us one step closer to the feeling of an in-person conversation.’
The new feature can be accessed by going to the privacy settings in WhatsApp and tapping on ‘default message timer’.
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