WhatsApp’s disappearing messages feature is being rolled out with a set seven-day time limit, but more time limit options may ultimately be added.
After lurking among the beta versions of WhatsApp for more than a year, the firm’s long-awaited disappearing messages feature is set to be rolled out. As the name suggests, the feature will allow users to have messages vanish a period of time after they have been sent, similar to the functionality popularized by SnapChat. But the feature does not go as far in one respect as users might have expected.
As previously outlined, the disappearing messages feature first appeared as part of a beta update under the moniker ‘deleted messages’ and was subsequently renamed ‘expiring messages’ at a later stage of development. Throughout its development, the feature had given users the option of how long after being sent messages would disappear. When WhatsApp put its disappearing messages FAQs page live earlier this week, though, it became apparent that the choice of timings would be replaced with a set seven-day period.
Today, that has been confirmed by WhatsApp. The firm explains that its aim with the feature was to make chats feel as close to in-person conversations as possible and suggests that it will help them to feel “lighter and more private”, pointing out that most of what we send doesn’t need to be everlasting. For those interested in the feature, its roll-out will be welcome, but the lack of time limit options is likely to be frustrating. There is hope, though.
Disappearing Messages: Why Only Seven Days?
WhatsApp says it’s running with the seven-day limit because it balances peace of mind that conversations for which the feature is enabled aren’t permanent with the practicality of referring back to messages about topics still being discussed. Notably, though, it uses the phrase “We’re starting with 7 days…”, suggesting that more time limit options may well be rolled out at a later date. For a new feature like this that would make sense, because it would allow users to become familiar with using disappearing messages before gaining more control over them. This would obviously reduce the potential for people causing problems for themselves by using shorter time limit options from the word go without realizing what the ramifications might be.
As had been included in the FAQs page, WhatsApp also confirmed that either person in a one-to-one chat can turn disappearing messages on or off, while only the admins of group chats would be able to do so. The disappearing messages feature is being rolled out around the world this month. It will be available on WhatsApp’s Android, iPhone, KaiOS, web, and desktop apps.
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