WhatsApp Launches Disappearing Photos And Videos But Critics Are Raising Concerns

Recipients will still be able to screenshot the media files sent through the feature.

Cover image via @whatsapp (Twitter)

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WhatsApp, the ubiquitous messaging app, will be launching a disappearing photo and video feature called 'View Once'

In a tweet yesterday, 4 August, WhatsApp revealed that users will be able to send media files that disappear once they have been opened by the recipient. 

Dubbing it 'View Once', the Facebook-owned company says the feature will give users more control over their chat privacy. It is expected to be rolled out in full by this week.

In the accompanying video, it shows exactly how the feature will work. After selecting a photo or video to send, users will now have a '1' button next to the send icon. 

Clicking this will send the media in 'View Once' mode, and will not show a preview in chat. After opening, it will be gone, denoted only by a white 'opened' bar.

The company suggests a few use cases for 'View Once', however there is one caveat

According to TechCrunch, WhatsApp suggests that their new feature will be helpful for an array of everyday tasks.

This includes sharing photos of clothes a person is trying on to seek a second opinion, or even sharing your WiFi password while ensuring it doesn't get reshared.

However, a major caveat of the feature is that users will be able to screenshot the 'View Once', and the sender will be none the wiser.

Unlike Snapchat, WhatsApp will not notify you that the media has been screenshot, nor will you have any indicators of such in the interface.

The added privacy push is in line with Facebook's long term vision, however some quarters remain skeptical

In an op-ed published in March 2019, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg cited 'private interactions' as one of the key tenets of the future of social networking.

This declaration follows WhatsApp's move to enable end-to-end encryption as default for all users back in 2016.

However, Mark's promise to make this a standard across all platforms under Facebook's stable seems far off still, reported TechCrunch.

In fact, critics in the UK have expressed concern over the new 'View Once' feature, alleging it provides perpetrators an easy way to cover up evidence of child sexual abuse, reports the BBC.

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