WhatsApp is testing a new 24-hour limit for disappearing messages
WhatsApp unveiled disappearing messages in November 2020 with seven-day limit
WhatsApp had introduced disappearing messages in November 2020. At the time, it said that messages would disappear in seven days to offer "peace of mind that conversations aren't permanent while remaining practical so you don't forget what you were chatting about". Until now, this WhatsApp feature hasn't seen any revisions. Rival platforms such as Telegram and Signal have offered similar functionality for much longer.
Feature could be for group chats, but at administrator's discretion
WABetaInfo reported that WhatsApp is adding an option to the disappearing message feature so users can set the time limit to 24 hours. Think WhatsApp Stories, but with messages. The "24 hours" option reportedly won't replace the existing "7 days" option. PhoneArena speculates the feature will work for group chats as well, but only group administrators would be able to modify this setting.
Disappearing messages shouldn't be confused with previously-spotted self-destructing images feature
The disappearing message feature works with messages as well as with media such as photos and videos. A separate leak also reported by WABetaInfo in March suggested that a self-destructing images feature would come to WhatsApp. This feature resembled Snapchat in that it allows media and messages to be viewed only a finite number of times before they self-destruct.
Feature will be included in upcoming update across platforms: WABetaInfo
That said, WhatsApp's new 24-hour limit for disappearing messages isn't a foolproof way to ensure your messages remain private. Unlike Snapchat, the platform doesn't yet notify users if recipients take screenshots of the chat or of the content shared. Nevertheless, WABetaInfo said that the feature is in development and would be incorporated in an upcoming update for Android, iOS, and the web/desktop app.