Meta announced new privacy features to WhatsApp users.

Users will have the ability to silence group chats, manage who can view their online status and disable screenshots from View Once messages.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta, stated that this would allow WhatsApp messaging to remain “as private as face-to-face conversations”

It will start rolling out these features this month and highlight them in a global campaign that begins in the UK. This popular messaging app alerts everyone in a group chat when someone leaves or is removed by default.

While there are options to disable this in individual chats, users cannot choose to leave silently when they “exit group”. This can sometimes cause awkwardness, embarrassment, or drama for those who want to go unnoticed.

Users will now be able to leave group chat without notifying other users or alerting administrators.

Ami Vora, product head, stated that it was part of the platform’s goal to “build product features that enable people to have greater control and privacy over what they say.”

She stated that WhatsApp was the best place to communicate privately.

“No other global messaging platform offers this level of security for users’ messages and media, voice messages, chat back-ups, or video calls.”

Users can choose to restrict specific contacts (or none) from seeing when they are active on the platform. This update brings online status options in line with “last seen” settings.

Janis Wong is a research associate at The Alan Turing Institute. She told BBC News that giving users more control was always nice. Users want and need, more control.

She noted that the impact of the features could be limited if users are not prompted to use them or are fully informed about them in the app.

She said, “If it doesn’t default or if users don’t get prompted to reconsider their options then it’s probably not very useful – users need to be aware that this is something they can do.”

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