WhatsApp ‘View Once’ feature adds discretion to photo and video sharing

WhatsApp messaging is about to get a little more private with the hotly-touted View Once feature now rolling out on Android for beta testers.

While WhatsApp already offers end-to-end encryption, users who don’t want to leave a digital footprint for photos or videos can ensure it won’t remain within the conversation thread.

The discovery comes from WABetaInfo, which got word of the incoming feature straight from the horse’s mouth in a chat with Mark Zuckerberg in early June.

If the message is sent via the View Once option – now rolling out for users of the Android beta app – it will disappear as soon as its dismissed by the recipient.

The feature is identifiable by the countdown-like icon with a figure 1 in the centre. Users will need to tap these to enlighten the option. From here, WABetaInfo says, the sender will be notified when the recipient opens it.

“This photo is set to view once,” the recipient will be informed. “For more privacy, this photo will disappear after you close it.”

WhatsApp View Once button Android
Image credit: WABetaInfo

As the site points out, this won’t prevent the recipient from saving the media to their phones or taking a screenshot. As WhatsApp doesn’t inform users when either has occurred, users shouldn’t assume the media they send is safe from further sharing.

However, it will ensure it is at least removed from the conversation thread to prevent prying eyes catching a glimpse. Right now the feature is available in beta for Android with iOS users likely to get a taster too before it rolls out to all users.

The feature joins (and should not be confused with) the existing Disappearing Messages mode that ensures messages are removed from the chat after a pre-set period of time. WhatsApp is also preparing to rollout multi-device support with cloud syncing. We’ll let you know when it hits the main app.

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