WhatsApp Setting To Remove Messages After Seven Days

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Messaging titan to implement setting to allow for “disappearing messages” option after seven days, in an effort to bolster privacy

WhatsApp is implementing a setting option designed to increase the privacy of messages.

According to a WhatsApp FAQ, the “disappearing messages” option will erase chats from the phone of both the sender and recipient after a seven day period.

Privacy has also been a touchy subject for WhatsApp, despite it offering end-to-end encryption. In September 2018, co-founder of, Brian Acton, admitted he had sold the privacy of WhatsApp users, after he clashed with Facebook management over its attempts to wring money from its app.

privacy

Privacy option

Facebook of course acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for a staggering $22bn, despite the fact that WhatsApp at the time had a tiny revenue stream.

Now WhatsApp has grown into one of the world’s most widely used messaging apps, with two billion users worldwide.

“You can send messages that disappear on WhatsApp by enabling disappearing messages,” WhatsApp said in its FAQ. “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,” it added. “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.”

The way it works is that 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.

But there are some caveats.

Screenshot threat

WhatsApp warned that if users reply to a message, the initial message is quoted. If the user replies to a disappearing message, the quoted text might remain in the chat after seven days.

And 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, it warned.

And it said that messages could be still be viewed if a user takes a screenshot of a disappearing message.

The option will appear for WhatsApp users by the end of November.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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