LONDON: WhatsApp on Tuesday introduced a range of new features aimed at protecting users’ privacy, allowing them to control who can see their online status and block screenshots on “View Once” messages.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said this would help keep WhatsApp messaging “as private and secure as face-to-face conversations.”
Ami Vora, WhatsApp’s head of product, said the platform is focused on building 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 are one way we continue to deliver on our commitment to keep messages private,” she said.
The features, to be rolled out later in August, will allow users to leave group chats silently, control who can see their online status and block screenshots on “View Once” messages.
In its current format, WhatsApp alerts all members of a group chat to someone leaving or being removed by default.
The change will allow users to leave the group silently, without notifying other group members and only alerting group administrators.
Additionally, the update will give users the option to allow only certain contacts — or no one — to see when they are active on the platform, bringing online status options into alignment with “last seen” settings.
WhatsApp will also allow users to block screenshots of disappearing messages, which is currently being tested and will be available “soon,” according to the platform.
The rollout comes as Meta faces growing criticism that its privacy features could be abused by people seeking to evade law enforcement.