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Meta's WhatsApp introduces a host of new privacy tools

WhatsApp is rolling out a feature to block capturing of screenshots of ‘view once’ messages which disappear after the receiver reads them

People will soon have the option on WhatsApp to decide who can see you are online and busy in another conversation at the time. (HT_PRINT)

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Meta-owned WhatsApp is rolling out a feature to block capturing of a screenshot of 'view once messages' which disappear after the receiver reads them, the company said on Tuesday.

Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced new privacy features in WhatsApp giving the option to users to leave a group chat secretly and make the online presence visible to people of their choice.

“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," Zuckerberg said in a statement.

WhatsApp has introduced 'view once messages' which self-destruct after the receiver reads them. This gives users an option who don't want to have a permanent digital record of their message but there have been instances when the receiver takes a screenshot of the message.

"Now WhatsApp is enabling screenshot blocking for View Once messages for an added layer of protection. This feature is being tested and will be rolled out to users soon," the statement said.

According to a WhatsApp privacy study, 72 per cent of respondents value being able to speak in an honest, unfiltered way — but more than 47 per cent are only comfortable doing this in a safe, private space.

They are particularly cautious online, ranking privacy in their private messages as most important — compared to emails, texts or social media.

According to the study, 51 per cent of respondents prefer to stay hidden online to choose who they want to talk to and 91 per cent of people who are aware of blocking features believe they are important.

The silent leaving of group feature will enable users to be able to exit a group privately without having to notify everyone. Only the admins will be notified that a member has left the group and the feature has started to roll out for all users and will be gradually available to its all users this month.

WhatsApp's new option to enable users to decide who can see them online will be also available for users from this month.

WhatsApp Head of Product Ami Vora said that over the years, WhatsApp has added interlocking layers of protection to help keep user's conversations secure.

"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. We believe WhatsApp is the most secure place to have a private conversation.

"And to spread the word about these new features, we are 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," Vora said.

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