The popular instant messaging app WhatsApp is all set to roll out a new feature which is making heads turned. The feature, however, seems to be half-baked and needs to do some serious catching up with rival offerings.
According to Wabetainfo, a portal for all news related to WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging platform has been working on introducing the feature of ‘disappearing messages’ or ‘self-deleting messages’ for quite some time. The company is finally all set to roll out the much-awaited feature.
A lot many details about how exactly this feature will function has been published by WhatsApp on their F.A.Q page. And that is where one can find out how it quickly falls short in terms of capability when compared to what other similar messaging apps are offering at this instant.
No Custom Expiration Time
One of the significant flaws in the soon-to-be-released feature seems to be that the only default option available to users is to resort to their disappearing messages taking an entire week to get deleted.
Other instant messaging apps such as Telegram or Signal currently offer customisable expiration timing for self-deleting messaging, which ranges anywhere between a few seconds to a week.
Save On Recipient’s Device
Another major downside that WhatsApp’s disappearing messages have is that any media that is sent via the feature will get saved on the recipient’s device, even if it gets deleted from the chat.
The F.A.Q section clearly notes that the only way to avoid this from happening requires the recipient user to turn off the ‘auto-download’ functionality of WhatsApp manually which makes one wonder what even is the point of having this feature in the first place.
Not Entirely Foolproof
The self-deleting feature from WhatsApp is not precisely foolproof as the F.A.Q. Section highlights that if a recipient quotes the disappearing message in their replies, then it might just remain in the chat even after a week.
Also, if the recipient of a disappearing message chooses to forward it to another WhatsApp contact, then the message will not get deleted for the forwarded contact.
What more? If these cons are not discouraging enough, WhatsApp has mentioned that there’s no stopping for users to take a screenshot of a disappearing message.
Along with that, one must also note that this new feature won’t be having an option for the sender to be notified that a screenshot has been taken of his or her self-destructing message as well.
So, now that we have gone through these glaringly obvious shortcomings, the question that arrives here is – why does WhatsApp want to launch this feature when there’s no apparent practicality to it, and its rivals offer much better functionality in this domain?
Is the the roll out of disappearing message feature of WhatsApp is more of a hush-hush release under the management pressure?
The answer to all that remains a mystery as of now. However, one thing that can be unanimously agreed upon is that one should consider shifting to other messaging apps such as Signal or Telegram which are more privacy-focused albeit lesser-known if they wish to make use of this feature. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.