In light of recent CIA document leaks, Messaging giant Viber is now looking to provide more private and secure chat features to all of its 800 million users. Through their latest feature called ‘Secret Chats’, the company is giving users the option to start self-destructing chats. Yes, not the messages, but the entire chat disappears after a certain pre-set time interval.
With the release of self-destructing chats, the Rakuten-owned messaging giant is building upon the ‘secret messages’ it launched about a couple months back. It enables users to time individual messages to auto-destruct after a certain pre-set limit, a concept popularized by the now-public ephemeral messaging app Snapchat. Viber allows users to send plain text, as well as audio-visual messages via their secret messages feature.
The ‘Secret Chats’ feature, which is expected to debut both on Android and iOS in the coming week, takes this concept a step further. It allows you to open self-destructing chats, be it group or one-on-one. Tagging along with the said end-to-end (E2E) encrypted chats are a cohort of useful features. Firstly, it does not allow users to forward messages or images within this chat to others outside this domain.
Viber is also packing a necessary privacy feature — screenshot blocking or notifications — within these chats. While the app will surely block users from taking screenshots of the conversation on Android, iOS users won’t have the same luxury. Instead, they’ll be notified when someone takes a screenshot of their chats. It will also continue to allow users to hide secret chats behind the safety of a PIN code if they wish.
This shows that Viber is ready to aggressively bolster the feature set, as well as the security of its messaging app to attract a larger chunk of the populace. Operating under the umbrella of Rakuten for over three years, Viber just recently appointed Djamel Agaoua as its new CEO. And now it is looking to pip growth beyond locations — Asia, eastern Europe, and northern Africa — it has amassed a strong user base. Agaoua is now planning to expedite the company’s expansion efforts in the United States and integrate WeChat-like mini-apps in its messaging app.