WhatsApp, ephemeral messages have arrived: how to activate them

The new feature of self-destructing messages u WhatsApp has also arrived in Italy: here's how to activate it and what to watch out for.

After the announcement made earlier this month and a first rollout in the United States, WhatsApp has finally brought ephemeral messages to the official Italian apps as well. The "self-destructing messages", therefore, becomes the latest feature added by the Facebook group to its very popular instant messaging app.

Ephemeral messages, however, have been implemented by WhatsApp in a very basic way and, for sure, much simpler than users would have wished. You can't configure them in any way, but only enable and disable them for individual chats, with individual contacts or in groups. In ogni caso, quando sono attivati, i messaggi effimeri hanno un timer di 7 giorni passati i quali il messaggio scompare dalla chat ma la stessa WhatsApp, annunciando la nuova funzione, ha specificato che ciò potrebbe non essere sufficiente per far sparire ogni traccia del messaggio e che l’utente dovrebbe conoscere bene le implicazioni per la privacy derivanti dall’uso di questa funzione.

Come attivare i messaggi effimeri su WhatsApp

Attivare i messaggi effimeri su WhatsApp è molto semplice: basta aprire la chat sulla quale vogliamo attivarli e fare tap sul menu con i tre puntini in alto a destra. Da qui dovremo scegliere “Mostra contatto" e, nella scheda del contatto che si aprirà, troveremo l’opzione per attivare o disattivare i messaggi effimeri.

WhatsApp, la prima volta che attiveremo i messaggi effimeri, ci mostrerà delle schermate in cui ci spiega che i messaggi spariranno dopo sette giorni ma che il contatto a cui li abbiamo mandati potrebbe averli comunque salvati.

To activate ephemeral messages on groups, however, we have to look for them in "Group Info" within the main menu.

How to activate ephemeral messages on WhatsApp Web

The good news is that, in addition to smartphone apps, ephemeral messages have also arrived on WhatsApp Web. In fact, many users of the Web version of WhatsApp have noticed a message, in the top left corner, inviting them to click to update the platform. WhatsApp Web is reloaded and the ephemeral messages become available.

The operation is identical to that described for the app: the messages that self-destruct are activated by going to "Show contact" or "Group info".

Ephemeral messages: beware of privacy

When we activate ephemeral messages on a single or group chat what we send within that chat will automatically disappear after seven days. Whoever received the message, however, could take a screenshot to keep track of what we have shared.

If the ephemeral message contains audio, photos or videos, moreover, such multimedia content could remain on the smartphone of whoever received it if he has set the option to download and save on the device the media files of WhatsApp.

It is clear, therefore, that we should not understand ephemeral messages as a tool by which we can write anything on WhatsApp knowing that then what we share will disappear. It's not that simple at all, and WhatsApp itself tells us so.