Popular messenger app WhatsApp has, over the last few months, introduced several features that enhance the usage of the platform by its users. While that is so, several other highly-anticipated features are also on the way. Some have even been under testing for a while now.
One of those upcoming new features that have been under testing for long – for at least a year now, as far as we know – is WhatsApp’s second take at ephemeral messaging. The first take, “stories” that last for a day, has been around for nearly 4 years now as an enhanced version of WhatsApp’s status feature. The second take, which is what is still in the works, is supposed to imitate what we have seen rival platforms like Telegram do: chat messages that disappear after some time.
While in the case of Telegram and other messenger apps users can set for how long messages stay before they disappear, we know, thanks to a new frequently asked questions (FAQs) page, that WhatsApp’s disappearing messages will have a preset time.
“Once enabled, new messages sent in the individual or group chat will disappear after seven days,” notes the FAQ.
The feature, as we expect, will be available to both individual and group chats. For the latter, only admins will be able to allow or disallow disappearing messages while for one-on-one conversations, either party can enable and disable disappearing messages.
An interesting thing to note with regards to WhatsApp’s implementation is this: “If a disappearing message is forwarded to a chat with disappearing messages off, the message won’t disappear in the forwarded chat.”
Since WhatsApp allows users to backup their messages locally or using Google Drive, you don’t have to worry that someone will get to keep your temporary message(s). Once they restore their chats, the timed messages will disappear. The same will happen for those that have allowed WhatsApp to automatically download any new media shared with them to their local storage. Media in disappearing messages won’t be kept.
As is the case with other platforms, though, users can still take screenshots of disappearing messages for keeps. It is not clear at this point if WhatsApp will be instituting any of the measures others have put in place to notify people that screenshots of their disappearing messages were taken.