WhatsApp’s ‘View Once’ feature adds discretion to photo and video sharing

WhatsApp messaging is about to get a little more private with the much-loved View Once feature which is now rolling out to Android for beta testers.

Although WhatsApp already offers end-to-end encryption, users who don’t want to digitally fingerprint photos or videos can make sure they won’t stay in the conversation thread.

The discovery comes from WABetaInfo, which learned about the incoming feature straight from the horse’s mouth during a conversation with Mark Zuckerberg in early June.

If the message is sent via the View Once option – now available to Android beta app users – it will disappear as soon as it is rejected by the recipient.

The feature is identifiable by the countdown icon with a number 1 in the center. Users will need to tap on it to light up the option. From there, says WABetaInfo, the sender will be notified when the recipient opens it.

“This photo is set to be viewed once,” the recipient will be notified. “For privacy, this photo will disappear once you close it.”

WhatsApp Show Once Android Button
Image credit: WABetaInfo

As the site points out, this won’t prevent the recipient from saving the media to their phone or taking a screenshot. Since WhatsApp does not notify users when either has happened, users should not assume that the media they send is safe from further sharing.

However, he’ll make sure he’s at least removed from the conversation thread to prevent prying eyes from peeking. Currently, the feature is available in beta for Android with iOS users likely to get a taste before it rolls out to all users.

The feature joins (and should not be confused with) the existing Disappearing Messages mode which ensures that messages are removed from chat after a predefined period of time. WhatsApp is also preparing to roll out multi-device support with cloud syncing. We’ll let you know when it hits the main app.

Shirley K. Rosa