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What you need to know about WhatsApp's latest privacy features

WhatsApp rolled out three new security layers on its platform. One of the latest features allows you to leave groups silently

Yesterday (August 9, 2022), WhatsApp rolled out three new security layers on its platform. One of the latest features allows you to leave groups silently, that other one will enable you to hide your online status. As part of the updates, you can also disable screenshots on "view once" messages.

"At WhatsApp, Privacy is in our DNA, and we will never stop building new ways to protect your personal conversations. We believe messaging and calling should always be as private and secure as having face-to-face conversations. Kind of like if two people were talking and no one else was around," the social media platform said in a statement seen by Benjamindada.com.

WhatsApp's latest security features

The three privacy updates on WhatsApp

  • Leaving WhatsApp groups unnoticed: With this new update, you can leave a WhatsApp group quietly. Only the admin would know—"Almost like leaving a party quietly and only informing the host," Will Cathcart, the Head of WhatsApp tweeted. This feature will be available for all users [Android and iOS] this month.
  • Choosing who knows when you're online: In case you keep your online presence private, this feature will enable you to control who can and can't see when you are online. Although WhatsApp hides its users' online status from strangers by default, it still allows the users' entire list of contacts to see the status.
  • Screenshot blocking for view once messages: Just yesterday, my friend mistakenly shared with me something that was important via the "View Once" option, I screenshotted it. I will not be able to do that with the introduction of this feature if my friend enables this feature on their app.
How the WhatsApp view once option works

WhatsApp intends to kick off a campaign to educate people about the new features and our continued commitment to protecting your private conversations on the platform—starting with the UK and India.

Over the years, WhatsApp has added new layers of privacy protections to give its users multiple ways to secure their messages, including disappearing messages that self-destruct, end-to-end encrypted backups when users want to save their chat history, 2-step verification for added security, and the ability to block and report unwanted chats.

These three additions, according to the social media platform "are all part of how we work to keep your conversations secure on WhatsApp."

In 2021, WhatsApp released its controversial terms and privacy policy that users feared that the change meant that WhatsApp would soon be sharing their personal information with parent company Meta. However, the backlash prompted the social media platform to pause and review the update which is yet to be implemented.

Its competitors—Telegram, Signal and Viber—saw massive surges of users. Telegram added 25 million new users in just three days during the period of the controversy.