WhatsApp: how the app changes with the novelty announced by Zuckerberg

The latest novelty introduced by WhatsApp could change the way in which many users, increasingly attentive to privacy, use the world's most famous chat app

Rarely Mark Zuckerberg, the head of the Facebook group (now Meta), intervenes in public to announce a novelty that concerns WhatsApp. This time, however, he did and with a screenshot of a chat with his wife Priscilla Chan, a sign that this is a novelty that, potentially, can change the way we use WhatsApp chats.

This novelty, in fact, has to do with the so-called "ephemeral messages", ie those that disappear after the expiration of a timer. Arrived in Italy in mid-November last year, the "messages that self-destruct" are understood by Facebook as a measure that saves the privacy of users: if our message does not leave a trace, it is more difficult (but not impossible, as we will explain in a bit) that it will be used in the future "against us". Even more so this applies to photos and videos, for which WhatsApp introduced other specific measures in August 2021. The news just announced by Zuckerberg is actually twofold. Here's what it's all about.

WhatsApp: ephemeral messages by default

"Not all messages have to stay forever," that's how Zuckerberg announced on Facebook the arrival of the first novelty on WhatsApp: it's now possible to set the new chats so that all the messages we send within them are ephemeral. Fino a ieri era necessario impostare questa modalità di conversazione per ogni singola chat, o per ogni singolo messaggio se volevamo utilizzare la funzione “visualizza una volta“.

Ora, invece, è possibile aprire l’app di WhatsApp e impostare i messaggi effimeri di default andando su Account > Privacy > Timer predefinito messaggi. Non tutti hanno ancora questa opzione nell’app di WhatsApp: è in fase di rilascio globale e potrebbe passare ancora qualche ora, o qualche giorno, prima di riceverla.

WhatsApp: i nuovi timer per i messaggi

Ma c’è un’altra novità: mentre prima era possibile impostare solo un timer da 7 giorni, ora le scelte possibili per la scadenza dei messaggi effimeri sono tre:

  • 24 ore
  • 7 giorni
  • 90 giorni

Messaggi effimeri WhatsApp: privacy al sicuro?

Queste due novità porteranno, molto probabilmente, più utenti WhatsApp ad usare i messaggi effimeri. In fact, there are many people who prefer not to leave a trace of their conversations, especially if they are chatting with people they don't trust 100%.

However, even with this newly introduced novelty, the limitations of ephemeral messages all remain. For example, it's still possible to take a screenshot of a chat containing ephemeral messages before they disappear (something, by the way, done by Zuckerberg himself). The same thing, with a little skill, can be done for photos and videos that disappear after being viewed.

Also, the text of an ephemeral message still remains visible if that message is forwarded to another chat, or if it is selected and included in a reply.