WhatsApp Announces Screenshot Blocking and More Privacy Features

WhatsApp parent company Meta today announced new privacy features for the popular communication app.

“Today, we’re introducing new privacy features that provide interlocking layers of protection and give you more control over your messages on WhatsApp,” Meta said in a news release.

The new features include the option to hide your ‘Online’ status on WhatsApp, screenshot blocking for ‘View Once’ messages, and the ability to silently leave a group.

After previously introducing features that let users disable Read Receipts and hide their Last Seen time, users can now go completely incognito on the platform by also concealing their ‘Online’ status.

WhatsApp users will be able to choose who gets to see when they’re online: everyone on WhatsApp, only contacts, all of their contacts except specific ones, or nobody. The feature was reported to be in beta last month. According to Meta, it will start rolling out to public users sometime this month.

WhatsApp’s View Once feature lets users send self-destructing multimedia messages that disappear once the recipient has seen them. Up until now, however, recipients could simply take a screenshot of a View Once message.

Blocking screenshots will add another layer of security to the View Once feature. WhatsApp is currently testing screenshot blocking, and it will make its way to users “soon.”

Finally, WhatsApp will soon let users leave group chats without notifying everyone in the group. Admins will still be notified when a participant leaves, though. This feature will also start rolling out to all users this month.

“This is all part of how we work to keep your conversations secure on WhatsApp, and we’re excited to offer new layers of protection,” Meta added.

The new privacy features come after WhatsApp announced on Monday users now have “a little over 2 days” to delete messages after hitting send.