Whatsapp is constantly working to improve and enhance the privacy of the users. In that attempt, it introduces quite a lot of new features that could make things more private, as Whatsapp is originally intended to work, a more personal and private messenger for the crowd.
In quite the “expected” and anticipated turn of events, the new feature introduced by the Whatsapp developers is the “view once” option for classified media. This feature is currently only available for Whatsapp Beta users on the new 220.127.116.11 version for android beta testers, but there is no word on when WhatsApp will be rolling out the stable version of this feature for the general crowd.
The view once feature is already available on many other platforms, especially Instagram, which is considered a sibling application to WhatsApp, as they are both associated with Facebook.
With all the new features that WhatsApp has introduced to enhance user privacy, including Whatsapp’s most advertised end-to-end encryption, the recent fuss about WhatsApp sharing user data and collecting personal information still hangs in the mist.
How does it work?
Available now on Whatsapp Beta, the “view once” feature is something that presents an apparent obviousness through its name. With this feature, the media sent with this setting checked will only be shown to the other person once and will be deleted right after they close the item. Likewise, if you are on the receiving end, you’ll be able to open the media sent with this setting checked only once and the media will be erased as soon as you close it.
The feature will be available in the chat bar of Whatsapp Beta; located right near the sent button will be another sort of vanishing option to enable the “view once” setting, once you select that, any media that you send will only be available for the receiver to open once.
Remind you that this is the best testing version of the features, and there is a lot that won’t go as expected. There are also other complications and limitations that you need to be aware of; upon disabling the read receipts, the other person will know if you have opened the media with the “view once” setting” but you will not know when they open yours in a one-on-one chat. In groups, you can if someone opened the media set to “view once” even if read receipts are disabled by going to Message Info. Even if the person on the receiving end don’t have the feature enabled, the view once setting will still be functional.
Of course, nothing on the internet is truly classified and that also includes this option, which is not as tight when it comes to secrecy because it doesn’t prevent the recipients from taking a screenshot of the content. If the recipients do take a screenshot, it won’t even notify you that they did, so make sure that you are not sending media in complete confidence, there is a good chance that these loopholes can easily turn the tables around.
Another thing worth noting is that after the recipients have opened and closed the media set to “view once”, the media will not turn into a message, as is the case with a message that you delete, instead, it will completely vanish from the chat, leaving no trace at all. The feature will only be applied to the media sent while the “view once” setting was selected, no other part of the user’s previous messages or media, sent normally, will be affected by this and will remain there forever.
Usually, wanting to send a message or media that the recipient can only see once entails the weary process of having to delete the media after the recipient sees it, which in the case of read receipts disabled is another headache. You have to keep going back to delete that message till the recipients have finally seen it and then at the end leave a trace message that shows that something has been deleted. The “view once” option makes it all pretty straightforward; you send media with the setting enabled, you get notified when the recipient opens the media and the media vanishes without a trace as soon as the recipient closes it.
Snapchat has been ahead of every other messaging app on this but seems like Whatsapp and Instagram are catching up, and hopefully soon, we’ll have the option to attain maximum confidentiality on both of these apps. The better part is that, unlike Snapchat, these features on WhatsApp and Instagram are only active if you choose to use them, otherwise, you can roll back to the normal chat and have everything stay between you, in the chats, for as long as you like.
This feature has only been rolled out in the new update of WhatsApp Beta for android. So, if you are a beta user or tester, you are aware that these features are often unstable and might not work as expected in different unexplored scenarios. But if you are someone who just can’t wait for the option to be included in the stable version, then you will either have to get into the mess of the unstable beta or work on your patience because sooner or later the feature will be landing on the standard version.