Today, Facebook announced that its messaging service, WhatsApp, is adding the ability to send disappearing messages in a chat. The capability had been reported on a couple of times before, and even spotted in an FAQ page earlier this week, so it was seemingly a matter of time until it materialized.
The ability to send disappearing messages can be enabled for specific chats, and once enabled, it applies to everything sent within that chat. To start with, Facebook is making it so that messages are automatically deleted after seven days, which it believes to strike the right balance between making the conversation feel “lighter” and being practical enough that users can still reference what they were talking about before.
In the respective FAQ page, the company explains that some exceptions may exist with disappearing messages. If a message is quoted before it disappears, the text of the original message may still be visible after the initial seven-day period, for example. Additionally, messages with media will only disappear from WhatsApp, so if you have automatic media downloads enabled, it will still be saved on your phone’s gallery. It’s also possible to take screenshots or forward disappearing messages.
Disappearing messages will be rolling out to everyone this month. For one-on-one conversations, either side can enable disappearing messages, while groups need to have their administrators enable it.