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WhatsApp tests self-destructing photos to safeguard your privacy. Ironic, ain’t it?

By Nadeem Sarwar March 2, 2021, 10:30 pm
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WhatsApp has lately courted a lot of negative press over its updated privacy policies that enable sharing of user data with Facebook. While the furor continues as the May 15 deadline for mandatorily accepting those policies inches closer, the company is working on a privacy-centric feature that can cut down on incidents of violating someone’s privacy. IRONIC, ain’t it? Actually, WhatsApp is testing a feature that will self-destruct photos shared with someone after a short interval.

Coming to both Android and iOS

WABetaInfo has shared screenshots of an in-development feature that will self-destruct photos in a chat. The WhatsApp update tracker notes that these self-destructing photos can not be imported or copied from the chat. However, WhatsApp has apparently not implemented a feature that could prevent the person on the other end from taking a screenshot before the timer ends and the photo vanishes.

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READ MORE: WhatsApp now lets you mute videos before sharing them

WhatsApp hasn't baked a screenshot detection / blocking functionality yet

One of the screenshots suggests that if users leave an ongoing chat in which a self-destructing photo was shared, they will no longer be able to see it once they return. There will be a counter that will appear on the left side of the text box. However, there is no information about the duration(s) for which a photo remains live before getting deleted.

WhatsApp already has a similar feature called self-deleting messages, but it only deletes a conversation after a span of 7 days. Until then, the person on the other end can see all the text and media you’ve shared, save them locally on his/her phone, and take screenshots as well.

READ MORE: WhatsApp’s multi-device support inches closer to launch with Log Out feature

Telegram has had this feature since 2017

However, it is unclear when this aforementioned feature will be released widely. Telegram, chief rival of the Facebook-owned messaging platform, has offered a similar feature for self-destructing photos as well as videos since 2017. And it also baked in a screenshot detection feature that notified the user if the person on the other end tried to take a screengrab.

At the moment, you can send text, photos, and videos that disappear after a while, thanks to the Secret Chat feature on Telegram. Before sending the message, you can set a self-destruct timer ranging from 1-15 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day, to a whole week. Additionally, the Secret Chat feature on Telegram automatically prevents taking a screenshot.

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