Facebook-owned WhatsApp is working on a feature that will delete messages automatically after a stipulated time as set by users, according to WABetaInfo, a fan site that tests new WhatsApp features early.
Renamed “Delete Messages” from earlier “Disappearing Messages”, the feature is being tested in beta mode.
According to WABetaInfo, the feature will be initially available for group chats only and can be enabled by the group’s administrators. Once enabled, the feature can be toggled in Contact Info or Group Settings.
The traces of this feature were spotted in the recently released public beta version of WhatsApp for Android – dubbed as v2.19.275. It is currently said to be in development and is not available for public usage, even as a part of the beta version.
“In the WhatsApp beta for Android 2.19.282 update, we presented a new feature called ‘Disappearing Messages’ that will automatically delete messages after a certain time. The feature is still under development, and WhatsApp is starting to work again on it in the 2.19.348 update, where they renamed ‘Disappearing Messages’ to ‘Delete Messages’,” WABetaInfo reported.
The concept of an auto-deleting post was made famous by Snapchat, which prompted a moral panic stoked by grown-ups who were concerned young people were using the app to send intimate pictures and messages. Then Facebook introduced the feature in Instagram and now it’s about to grant WhatsApp fans the same superpower.
Once available, the “Delete Message” feature will come with a toggle on/off button and users can choose a stipulated time — 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month or 1 year — for the messages to automatically disappear.
WhatsApp had last month rolled out a feature for Android users to let them share their status stories directly on Facebook Story and other apps. Just like Instagram, WhatsApp’s status Stories let users post images, text, and videos on your profile that disappear after 24 hours.