In a recent development from Meta’s messaging apps, WhatsApp is set to unveil a new feature that adds an extra layer of security to users’ conversations. The rollout includes the introduction of disappearing voice messages, a feature reminiscent of the “View Once” option for photos and videos that was introduced in 2021.
The highlight of this update is the ability to send voice messages that can only be listened to once before vanishing into the digital abyss. This feature is poised to bring added security to conversations where users prefer information not to be stored digitally. Practical scenarios include sharing sensitive information like credit card numbers intended for one-time use or planning surprise events.
To ensure user awareness, these ephemeral voice messages will be distinctly marked with a “one-time” icon. Recipients will be notified that the message is designed for a single listening, preventing accidental plays in environments where they might not be able to hear well. This feature also prepares users to take notes promptly if the message contains crucial information they need to remember.
Crucially, WhatsApp emphasizes that these disappearing voice messages, like the “View Once” photos and videos, are protected with end-to-end encryption by default. This encryption ensures that the content of the messages remains private and secure, aligning with Meta’s commitment to user privacy.
The update to WhatsApp is part of Meta’s broader initiative to enhance privacy and security across its social platforms. The company has been implementing various measures, including adding encryption to WhatsApp chat backups in 2021. More recently, Meta rolled out end-to-end encryption in Messenger.
The introduction of disappearing voice messages is a global rollout, set to reach WhatsApp users worldwide over the next several days. Users in South Africa may not immediately see the option in their apps but can expect to access this feature soon.
This move by Meta follows a series of privacy-focused changes to its social platforms, aligning with the vision outlined by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2019. The company has been actively working on promises related to safety, private interactions, interoperability, and encryption. While some efforts have been adjusted, such as discontinuing cross-messaging across Instagram and Facebook, Meta continues to deliver on encryption promises, with the latest being the rollout of end-to-end encryption in Messenger.