Meta has announced that WhatsApp users now have the choice about making disappearing messages the default on all new chats. Additionally, users can now set messages to disappear after 24 hours or 90 days (you could already pick 7 days). By allowing you to choose ephemeral messaging more easily, Meta is hoping to make WhatsApp conversations more lifelike by not keeping a permanent record of everything that has been said.
If you decide to turn on ephemeral messaging by default, the people you chat with will be informed that messages will eventually vanish. If you’re chatting with someone and you need to record some important information, such as an appointment, you have the option to disable ephemeral messages in particular chats.
Commenting on the feature, Meta said:
“Living apart from family and friends for over a year has made it clearer than ever that just because we can’t physically talk in person, it doesn’t mean we should have to sacrifice the privacy of our personal conversations. We believe disappearing messages along with end-to-end encryption are two crucial features that define what it means to be a private messaging service today, and bring us one step closer to the feeling of an in-personal conversation.”
If you like the idea of having disappearing messages, on your iPhone or Android device go to WhatsApp Settings > tap Account > Privacy > Default message timer and choose a duration. There are a few peculiarities surrounding disappearing messages so make sure you’re familiar with them by checking out the disappearing messages FAQ.