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WhatsApp rolls out three new privacy features

Meta, on Tuesday, said that the instant messaging app WhatsApp is bringing three new privacy features to users, which will give them more control over their conversations and add layers of protection when messaging.

“New privacy features coming to WhatsApp: exit group chats without notifying everyone, control who can see when you’re online, and prevent screenshots on view once messages. “We’ll keep building new ways to protect your messages and keep them as private and secure as face-to-face conversations,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta said, in a statement

WhatsApp already has default end-to-end encryption, so no one but the intended recipient can hear or see them. Over the years, the app has added new layers of privacy protections to give users multiple ways to secure their messages, including disappearing messages that self-destruct, end-to-end encrypted backups when users want to save their chat history, two-step verification for added security, and the ability to block and report unwanted chats.

Now, only the admins will be notified instead of notifying the whole group when leaving. This feature starts to roll out to all users this month. Further, it is also introducing the ability to select who can and can’t see when you’re online. This feature, too, will start rolling out to all users this month. Lastly, WhatsApp is enabling screenshot blocking for ‘view once’ messages to provide an added layer of protection. The company said this feature is being tested and will be rolled out to users soon.

WhatsApp said the introduction of these new features is backed by a new WhatsApp privacy study. The study found that 72% of people value being able to speak in an honest, unfiltered way — but more than 47% are only comfortable doing this in a safe, private space. As many as 51% prefer to stay hidden online to choose who they want to talk to, while 91% of people aware of blocking features believed they were important.

“No other global messaging service at this scale provides this level of security for their users’ messages, media, voice messages, video calls, and chat backups,” said Ami Vora, Head of Product at WhatsApp.

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“We believe WhatsApp is the most secure place to have a private conversation. We’re also kicking off a global campaign, starting with the UK and India, to educate people about how we work to protect their private conversations on WhatsApp”, he added.

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