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Self-deleting messages coming soon to WhatsApp, features some caveats

almost 2 years ago by IanDorfman

Self-destructing messages are coming to WhatsApp soon, but when they arrive you'll find they're not as flexible as you might have hoped.

WABetaInfo has detailed how the upcoming feature, referred to within WhatsApp as "Disappearing Messages," is set to function. It can be enabled or disabled per each individual chat conversation you find yourself in. Though the feature, originally referred to as "Expiring Messages," once was set to allow users to set custom availability intervals, the development team has decided to set the message visibility period to 7 days with no ability to customize it.

According to the official WhatsApp FAQ article devoted to the feature, the following points are important to note:

• If a user doesn’t open WhatsApp in the seven day period, the message will disappear. However, preview of the message might still be displayed in notifications until WhatsApp is opened. • When you reply to a message, the initial message is quoted. If you reply to a disappearing message, the quoted text might remain in the chat after seven days. • If a disappearing message is forwarded to a chat with disappearing messages off, the message won’t disappear in the forwarded chat. • If a user creates a backup before a message disappears, the disappearing message will be included in the backup. Disappearing messages will be deleted when a user restores a backup.

The FAQ also states that you should only use the Disappearing Messages feature with trusted contacts and groups, as messages can still be screenshotted and shared via image sharing sights and other messaging services.

Disappearing Messages are set to roll out across WhatsApp's numerous supported platforms "soon," though no concrete date or range has been announced.

Further coverage: WABetaInfo Fossbytes

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WhatsApp is an iPhone and Android messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS.