Like its main competitor Telegram, WhatsApp is rolling out a disappearing message feature but not the way Telegram does its own. Telegram gives users flexibility on how long they want their messages to last for from any time to a week but WhatsApp only disappears the message after a week. This means that there is no flexibility and that’s a big turn off for many.
In a blog post though, WhatsApp says “Our goal is to make conversations on WhatsApp feel as close to in-person as possible, which means they shouldn’t have to stick around forever. That’s why we’re excited to introduce the option to use disappearing messages on WhatsApp.” But on why they chose seven days, WhatsApp says their option is more practical in the real world and on that the post said “We’re starting with 7 days because we think it offers peace of mind that conversations aren’t permanent, while remaining practical so you don’t forget what you were chatting about.”
So, their defence is that it is better to allow people have messages mandatorily stored in the app for seven days before it disappears so they can have time to at least commit the message to memory. Now it’s not clear if the new disappearing messages features works both ways when turned on. You see the way “delete for everyone” works, I’m thinking this could work that way too. So, it means if you are the initiator of the conversation, you may be able to let it disappear both on your device and your chat partner’s as well. In a group chat though, the admin(s) would have the power instead.
The explanation though still has many questioning the inflexibility of the latest WhatsApp feature but it’s not clear if the messaging giant would be changing that anytime soon. Telegram as of April 2020 had about 400 million active users while the Facebook owned WhatsApp has about 2 billion users.
Both Telegram and WhatsApp offer end-to-end encryption but as Telegram explains, all of its messages are always securely encrypted. Messages in Secret Chats use client-client encryption, while Cloud Chats use client-server/server-client encryption and are stored encrypted in the Telegram Cloud.
Disappearing Messages is now available worldwide and all you have to do is update the app to start using it. The other thing we don’t know at this time is if it is available on WhatsApp Web. We recently reported that WhatsApp was bringing its voice and video chat feature to its web client too.