In an upcoming update, Facebook-owned instant messaging service WhatsApp could add a feature which automatically destroys images once viewed, or after a predefined time. The new feature will add to disappearing messages introduced in November 2020.
This is nothing new, as many competing platforms such as Signal already support disappearing media.
The new feature was leaked by WABetaInfo on Twitter accompanied by a few screenshots. The feature is reminiscent of Instagram Direct. WhatsApp users will be able to set an image to self-destruct using a small button beside the caption editor.
The toggle also has a number inside it, possibly a setting for how many times the media can be viewed before self-destruction.
WABetaInfo shares the feature's screenshots on Twitter
Image will also self-destruct if the recipient leaves the chat
Self-destructing images can be sent to group chats as well as individual conversations. The image preview will be obfuscated until the recipient taps on the image to view it.
Additionally, the image cannot be exported out of WhatsApp and will disappear if the recipient leaves the chat. WABetaInfo says that a feature banning screenshots of disappearing images is also in the offing.
Disappearing messages still saved media to recipient's device
Presently, if an image or any other media file is sent as a disappearing message on WhatsApp, a copy of the media still gets saved to the recipient's device.
This would allow the recipient to view, share, and use the media long after the message disappeared on WhatsApp. The upcoming self-destructing images feature intends to offer senders more control over their media.