Facebook is diving into ephemeral messaging. After debuting self-erasing media and texts on Messenger and Instagram, the social giant is rolling out a similar feature on WhatsApp. Starting today, the app’s beta testers on Android have begun to receive a “View Once” mode that wipes photos and videos as soon as you view and dismiss them. You’ll know if you have access to the new feature if you see a dedicated button (that looks like a timer) in the caption input field, according to the experts at WABetaInfo.
Not to be confused with WhatsApp’s disappearing messages — which delete within seven days — photos and video sent using view once mode are single-use only and vanish after you close them. You’ll get a notification once your media has been viewed.
Despite the added sheen of privacy, there are some quirks you should be aware of before jumping in. As noted by WABetaInfo, disabling read receipts won’t stop others from being notified if a view once message has been opened — though, you won’t see when a recipient open yours. In groups, you’ll be able to see when members have opened disappearing media even if you have read receipts disabled.
Also, there’s nothing stopping people from screenshotting your message without you finding out. View once apparently still works if you send a message to someone who doesn’t have access to the feature. Those on iOS will reportedly get the new mode at a later date.
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