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WhatsApp adds messages that vanish after seven days
5 November 2020, 11:04
The Facebook-owned messaging service said it wanted to give users the feeling of more private conversations.
WhatsApp users are to be given the ability to have messages disappear after seven days.
The Facebook-owned service said the update was designed to give users the option to make conversations “feel lighter and more private”.
The feature is similar to one used by Snapchat, a long-time social media rival which Facebook has taken inspiration from in the past.
The main Facebook app, WhatsApp and Instagram – which is also owned by Facebook – have previously introduced a Stories feature first made popular on Snapchat, where users can post videos or photos to their profile which disappear after 24 hours.
WhatsApp said its goal with disappearing messages is to make conversations “feel as close to in-person as possible” so “they shouldn’t have to stick around forever”.
The company confirmed that either user can activate the feature for themselves, while in group conversations the admin user will have control.
“We’re starting with seven days 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 shopping list or store address you received a few days ago will be there while you need it, and then disappear after you don’t,” WhatsApp said.
It confirmed that unopened messages will also disappear after seven days, but previews of messages may still be displayed in a user’s notifications until WhatsApp is opened.
The firm added that quoted text used for replies will remain visible even after the original message has disappeared.
The new feature will be rolled out to users this month, WhatsApp said.
It comes after another revamp to the app earlier this week, when WhatsApp announced a new storage management tool would enable users to mass delete gifs, videos and images from chats which are taking up space on their phone.