The developers of WhatsApp have started working on a new feature that will improve its privacy features, albeit an interesting addition.
We depend upon the messengers like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat for our day to day communication now. At the same time, we are also cautious about the information we share using these platforms. It is, however, no secret that these messaging services can access the personal information and leverage messages we send through them to target us for various purpose. It gives a feeling of the invasion of our privacy.
WhatsApp introduced its dual end-to-end encryption of messages between the sender and a receiver to ensure them of their privacy. They did a good job of gaining people’s trust. But they are not stopping there. WhatsApp is working on a new feature in which the message will self-destruct after a certain amount of time.
Owned by Facebook, WhatsApp has submitted a new update via the Google Play Beta Program and made it publicly available. This new update brought the version from 2.20.83 to 2.20.84. The update re-introduced the feature of Delete Messages for individual chats. However, now this feature allows the user to select the time after which a particular message will get deleted automatically.
This update will put WhatsApp back in the race with its competitors, like Snapchat, which had the self destruct feature for a long time. The WhatsApp new feature provides an extra layer of security for the users’ data and improves user privacy.
The significance of the feature
Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp has been the epicentre of controversies and scandals regarding the breach of user’s privacy. The most notable case was the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The social media behemoth is hell-bent on winning back the trust of the people. In this time of turmoil, people are suspecting that other Facebook-owned applications might also be sharing their data. To ensure people about safety and privacy the company needs to take necessary steps and this can be the first stepping stone in it.
Also, Facebook, after facing huge the huge loss of $5 billion due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, is not out of the storm just yet. The social-media giant is currently being sued again in Australia on the account of violating the privacy laws of their country. The requested damages amount is up to $529 billion which is more than Facebook’s current market value itself. The company has to make up for all of these losses and it can be done only by generating revenue from its other child companies.
On the other hand, WhatsApp is one of the most actively used messaging applications around the world with 2 billion users spread across 180 countries. Even though WhatsApp is a subscription-free and advertising-free mobile messaging application, owing to its large user base it can bring-in considerable revenue for Facebook to further solidify its financial status.
To put things in context, Facebook paid over $21.6 billion to acquire WhatsApp in February 2014 when the mobile messaging app has had just 450 million users. Simple math tells us that Facebook envisioned each WhatsApp user worth $48 then. Even if the value worth of each WhatsApp user remains same today, WhatsApp is easily worth $96 billion. And, with the steep increase in the number of active users, it can easily be used to mint hundreds of billions of dollars for Facebook. All Zuckerberg and Team need to do is to iron out all the privacy-related concern to win the confidence of advertisers.
WhatsApp Self-destruct Messages
The new update has the self-destruct feature in the Delete Message option. The Delete Message option would now be available in the menu of the receiver’s profile. We have to set a timer which gives us options ranging from 1 hour to 1 year. After the time selected is over, the selected message will be deleted automatically. After setting the timer, the selected message will appear with a little clock icon next to the sending time. This is to signify that the message is set to self destruct after a certain time.
Although it is not yet sure if or when this new feature of WhatsApp will be released but we can sure of one thing that the development team is taking it seriously. The self-destructing messages could put WhatsApp way ahead in the competition with other applications, increase the number of active users significantly and help Facebook to strengthen its revenue books.