Whatsapp’s New Feature ‘View Once’ brings disappearing photos and videos


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Whatsapp is rolling out a ‘view once’ feature that allows users to view photos or videos just for once, aimed at “giving users even more control over their privacy”. Whatsapp’s new feature will allow the recipient to open the image for once and then delete it without saving it to a phone. 

However, child protection advocates have tried to demonstrate the drawbacks of WhatsApp’s new release adding that auto-vanishing messages could help cover up evidence of child sexual abuse. 

Besides, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) already shows concerns with the Facebook, parent company of Whatsapp, over the use of encrypted messaging. 

Such encryption counteracts police from seeing the messages “in transit” – only the sender and receiver can. But the auto-deleting feature of WhatsApp’s new release could create obstacles in police raids because of no longer availability of evidence. 

“This view once feature could put children at even greater risk by giving offenders another tool to avoid detection and erase evidence, when efforts to combat child sexual abuse are already hindered by end-to-end encryption,” said Alison Trew, the charity’s senior online safety officer.

Whatsapp’s new feature, ‘view once’ is being demonstrated as a privacy feature for the better experience of regular consumers, saying it could be helpful in throwaway yet personal photos – for instance sending personal pictures or sending someone a password. 

Whatsapp's new feature

“View Once” Feature

“Not everything we share needs to become a permanent digital record,” it said.

“On many phones, simply taking a photo means it will take up space in your camera roll forever.”

And it was rolling out the feature to “everyone starting this week”.

Users will know a message is “view once” because the preview will be hidden and a large “1” icon displayed instead.

Alike Snapchat, users are allowed to take screenshots or screen recordings of the message but are restricted to forward, save, share, or starred messages. In addition to this, the unopened messages will automatically expire after two weeks. 

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James Robert is a journalist who covers all the social media and tech-related news for SG-educate, the world's largest multimedia news agency. He reports on tech from all over the world, focusing mostly on social media platforms. He has worked as a digital editor and online coverage of global breaking news on tech and big stories, reaching millions of readers across multiple platforms.

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