Many of us have those kinds of relatives who are extremely dedicated to sharing and forwarding an endless stream of Good Mornings, Good Evenings, and others in WhatsApp groups. And while it is incredibly annoying, simply leaving the WhatsApp group would make for an awkward confrontation. Fortunately, WhatsApp has your back, and now it has brough forth a solution to this problem.
The Meta-owned messaging platform has announced several new privacy features intended to give users more control over their WhatsApp experience and tools to preserve their privacy. Among these features is a way to exit a WhatsApp group silently without alerting the numerous other members of the group.
“New privacy features coming to WhatsApp: exit group chats without notifying everyone, control who can see when you’re online, and prevent screenshots on view once messages. We’ll keep building new ways to protect your messages and keep them as private and secure as face-to-face conversations,” said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta.
Let us tackle the features announced by WhatsApp one-by-one:
1. Control who sees your online status
WhatsApp users are accustomed to the “Last Seen” feature available just underneath the name of the person they are conversing with. So far, their privacy settings let users decide whether they want to share it with everyone, their contacts, or nobody.
Now, WhatsApp is rolling out a similar feature that will let you hide your online status from your friends and contacts. Known as “online presence control,” this is a feature that has been under beta testing for iOS last month. You can choose who can see your online status and who can’t, and you can change these settings at any time.
This feature will be available on both the web and mobile versions of WhatsApp once it rolls out later this month.
2. Screenshot blocking for “View Once” messages
View Once messages is a feature WhatsApp had rolled out near the end of last year – once users sent a View Once photo or video, the sender would not be able to view it again later, nor can they forward, save, star, or share a View Once message. The sole loophole was taking a screenshot (which renders the whole point of sending a View Once message moot), and now, WhatsApp is plugging that hole as well.
It is now testing a “screenshot blocking” feature for View Once messages which will do exactly what it sounds like – it will prevent users from taking screenshots of View Once messages. It is currently in beta right now and will roll out “soon.”
3. Leave groups silently
This feature is likely to be useful the next time you want to exit any family (or other annoying) WhatsApp groups and avoid awkward confrontations at the next physical meeting. It lets users leave the WhatsApp group(s) without alerting the other members – only the admins of the groups receive the notifications.
This will roll out to both the web and mobile versions of WhatsApp.
“At WhatsApp, we’re focused on building product features that empower people to have more control and privacy over their messages. Over the years, we’ve added interlocking layers of protection to help keep their conversations secure, and the new features is one way we continue to deliver on our commitment to keep messages private,” Ami Vora, Head of Product at WhatsApp, said.