WhatsApp rolls out ‘View Once’ voice message feature

WhatsApp on Friday (Dec 8), revealed the details of its latest feature: the ability for users to send voice messages that automatically disappear after being listened to. 

While the “View Once” feature has been in place for photos and videos since 2021, the messaging platform is now extending this privacy-focused functionality to audio messages. 

Notably, these messages cannot be forwarded, saved, or starred.

What does it mean?

In practice, this means heightened privacy for sensitive voice messages, offering users additional reassurance when sharing information like credit card details. But on the different side of the same coin, this also means that the trail of potentially incriminating voice messages will cease to exist, once this functionality becomes part of popular messenger app in the smartphones all over the world.

But WhatsApp said that recipients have a 14-day window to open and view a “View Once” photo, video, or audio message. After this period, the message will expire and disappear from the chat. 

For added security, WhatsApp stated that unopened “View Once” media and voice messages can be restored from backups. 

Also watch | WION Fineprint: 500 million WhatsApp users at risk of data breach

However, once opened, the content will not be included in backups and, therefore, cannot be restored. Additionally, users won’t be able to take screenshots of “View Once” media.

How will it work?

The View Once audio messages will share similarities with their visual counterparts, as they will bear a distinct “one-time” icon, ensuring they can only be played once.

To send a View Once audio message, users will need to select the “View Once” option when sending a voice message. This process involves opening an individual or group chat, tapping the microphone, swiping up to lock the recording, holding down the record button, and finally selecting the “view once” icon before hitting send.

The global rollout of View Once audio messages on WhatsApp is expected to take place in the immediate future. 

WhatsApp says that this feature will give the users an extra layer of privacy for their disappearing voice messages.

(With inputs from agencies)

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