The new disappearing images features on WhatsApp has been hailed “a win for privacy” as the global messaging giant has given more users the option to choose how long images and videos are available in a chat.
“While taking photos or videos on our phones has become such a big part of our lives, not everything we share needs to become a permanent digital record. On many phones, simply taking a photo means it will take up space in your camera roll forever,” explained WhatsApp in a recent blog post.
In addition to addressing storage-space constraints, the disappearing images on WhatsApp are expected to give “users even more control over their privacy”.
In an effort to introduce disappearing images on WhatsApp, the messaging platform gave some examples of moments when the feature might be useful. Moments such as trying on some new clothes in-store, a quick reaction to a moment in time, or something sensitive like a Wi-Fi password.
“As with all the personal messages you send on WhatsApp, ‘view once’ media is protected by end-to-end encryption so WhatsApp cannot see them. They will also be clearly marked with a new ‘one-time’ icon.”
The new disappearing images on WhatsApp will appear as “opened” once viewed by the intended recipient’s device “to avoid any confusion about what was happening in the chat at the time”.
Due to the nature of the new feature, social media users have joked that they will be using the feature to send lewd content.
The disappearing images feature on other platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram has been used in a similar manner.
Snapchat notifies the user when the image has been screenshotted whereas WhatsApp does not, so users have no way of knowing if the image ever really disappeared at all.