WhatsApp has lately courted a lot of negative press over its updated privacy policies that enable sharing of user data with Facebook. While the furor continues as the May 15 deadline for mandatorily accepting those policies inches closer, the company is working on a privacy-centric feature that can cut down on incidents of violating someone’s privacy. IRONIC, ain’t it? Actually, WhatsApp is testing a feature that will self-destruct photos shared with someone after a short interval.
WABetaInfo has shared screenshots of an in-development feature that will self-destruct photos in a chat. The WhatsApp update tracker notes that these self-destructing photos can not be imported or copied from the chat. However, WhatsApp has apparently not implemented a feature that could prevent the person on the other end from taking a screenshot before the timer ends and the photo vanishes.
WhatsApp is working on self-destructing photos in a future update for iOS and Android.
• Self-destructing photos cannot be exported from WhatsApp.
• WhatsApp didn’t implement a screenshot detection for self-destructing photos yet.
Same concept from Instagram Direct. ⏱ pic.twitter.com/LLsezVL2Hj
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) March 3, 2021
One of the screenshots suggests that if users leave an ongoing chat in which a self-destructing photo was shared, they will no longer be able to see it once they return. There will be a counter that will appear on the left side of the text box. However, there is no information about the duration(s) for which a photo remains live before getting deleted.
WhatsApp already has a similar feature called self-deleting messages, but it only deletes a conversation after a span of 7 days. Until then, the person on the other end can see all the text and media you’ve shared, save them locally on his/her phone, and take screenshots as well.
Telegram has had this feature since 2017
However, it is unclear when this aforementioned feature will be released widely. Telegram, chief rival of the Facebook-owned messaging platform, has offered a similar feature for self-destructing photos as well as videos since 2017. And it also baked in a screenshot detection feature that notified the user if the person on the other end tried to take a screengrab.
At the moment, you can send text, photos, and videos that disappear after a while, thanks to the Secret Chat feature on Telegram. Before sending the message, you can set a self-destruct timer ranging from 1-15 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day, to a whole week. Additionally, the Secret Chat feature on Telegram automatically prevents taking a screenshot.