Launch of WhatsApp Disappearing Messages Feature: Everything You Need to Know
WhatsApp has officially announced that it will introduce a new ‘Disappearing Messages’ feature via an update that will launch globally this month. However, details of the new feature have been released since earlier this week after an FAQ page created by WhatsApp was noticed. The long-awaited ephemeral messaging feature pioneered by Snapchat was first spotted last month via a beta version of WhatsApp. It will allow users to enable an option in individual and group chats that delete new messages after seven days.
‘Disappearing messages’ has started unfolding starting today, and it will be available on Android, iOS, and Linux-based KaiOS devices, along with WhatsApp’s web and desktop platforms, later this month. WhatsApp I had detailed earlier this week how to enable / disable the new ‘Disappearing Messages’ feature on different devices and posted FAQs about its use on a Support page.
The ‘Disappearing Messages’ feature in WhatsApp is also different from how it works in Telegram. While Telegram allows users to decide the duration before messages disappear in a chat, messages sent to a chat on WhatsApp will disappear after seven days. Snapchat, on the other hand, deletes Snaps after they’ve been opened, deletes unopened Snaps sent to a group chat within 24 hours, and all other unopened Snaps within 30 days.
WhatsApp says it is starting with seven days because it seems like an appropriate window for its users to end a particular conversation while giving them peace of mind that the conversations are not permanent. “We started with 7 days because we think it offers the peace of mind that the conversations are not permanent and at the same time it remains practical so that you don’t forget what you were chatting about. Be there as long as you need it and then disappear when you don’t need it.” the company said in a statement.
The ‘Disappearing Messages’ feature must be enabled separately for each chat window (individual or group conversations) and can be accessed by clicking on the individual or group contact name in WhatsApp. When enabled, new messages sent by a user will disappear for selected contacts after seven days. However, the preview of disappearing messages can appear in notifications until WhatsApp is opened on the receiving devices. Missing messages that are forwarded to a new chat window, which has the option disabled, will not be deleted either. And when a user replies to a disappearing message, the quoted text can also remain in the chat after seven days.
Users who receive the messages can also copy the text and take screenshots of the messages within seven days. Disappearing messages will also be included in the user’s backups, but will be deleted after the user restores the messages. Since there are many ways to retain shared chats via disappearing messages, it seems more like an option to clarify conversations than an information sharing feature that is automatically deleted.
Besides Snapchat, Telegram, and now WhatsApp, other messaging apps that have similar functionality include Signal and also Facebook Messenger which now has a fade mode.