WhatsApp on Thursday launched the much-awaited 'Disappearing Messages' on its platform for both Android and iOS users that will automatically delete new messages sent to a chat after seven days when turned on.
In a one-to-one chat, either person can turn disappearing messages on or off. In groups, admins will have the control on the new feature.
"Our goal is to make conversations on WhatsApp feel as close to in-person as possible, which means they shouldn't have to stick around forever. That's why we're excited to introduce the option to use disappearing messages on WhatsApp," the company said in a statement.
The Facebook-owned platform is starting with the seven-day limit "because we think it offers peace of mind that conversations aren't permanent, while remaining practical so you don't forget what you were chatting about".
The feature will be rolling out to over two billion active users globally this month. The platform has over 400 million users in India.
Once enabled, new messages sent in the individual or group chat will disappear after seven days.
The most recent selection controls all messages in the chat.
"This setting won't affect messages you previously sent or received in the chat. In an individual chat, either user can turn disappearing messages on or off. In a group chat, only group admins can turn disappearing messages on or off," WhatsApp informed.
If a user doesn't open WhatsApp in the seven-day period, the message will disappear.
However, the preview of the message might still be displayed in notifications until WhatsApp is opened.
"When you reply to a message, the initial message is quoted. If you reply to a disappearing message, the quoted text might remain in the chat after seven days".
If a disappearing message is forwarded to a chat with disappearing messages off, the message won't disappear in the forwarded chat.
"If a user creates a backup before a message disappears, the disappearing message will be included in the backup. Disappearing messages will be deleted when a user restores from a backup," WhatsApp explained.
WhatsApp said that people should only use disappearing messages with trusted individuals.
For example, it's possible for someone to forward or take a screenshot of a disappearing message and save it before it disappears.
"You can copy and save content from the disappearing message before it disappears and take a photo of a disappearing message with a camera or other device before it disappears," the company advised.
By default, media you receive in WhatsApp will be automatically downloaded to your photos.
If disappearing messages are turned on, media sent in the chat will disappear, but will be saved on the phone if auto-download is on.
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