WhatsApp is the world’s most popular encrypted messaging service, and the service is constantly adding new features that first arrive in the company’s beta testing channel. However, the Facebook-owned company is reportedly testing the very rare removal of a feature, according to a new report about the company’s WhatsApp Business app. According to a new report, it appears that WhatsApp has removed the ability to view the online status of a Business account in the latest Android beta version.
One of the most widely used features on the messaging service, the online status indicator, was also added to WhatsApp Business when the service was first launched in 2018 for small businesses. However, on the latest version of WhatsApp beta for Android, well-known feature leaker WABetaInfo reports that the function to check the online status of a business account has been turned off.
According to WABetaInfo, a few testers reported that version 188.8.131.52 of WhatsApp beta for Android included a noteworthy change, which did away with the ability to view whether a Business account was currently active on the app. While the leaker initially believed it to be a bug, but later managed to confirm that the beta version of WhatsApp for Android. It appears that along with the online status, the “last seen” is also no longer visible.
The removal of the online feature on WhatsApp for Business is bound to be a polarising decision as many users have requested its removal, but many others use the feature regularly.
There is no word on whether WhatsApp will also remove the online indicator from WhatsApp for Android and iOS – doing so would bring it on par with more privacy friendly apps like Signal, which do not have either a “last seen” functionality or an online status indicator.
Users who update to the latest beta version of WhatsApp for Android will not see the online status indicator anymore – instead the app simply says “WhatsApp Business” under the name of the actual Business account. However, WABetaInfo says that if you use WhatsApp for Business, WhatsApp for iOS and Android apps will still show you as online. This is also true for WhatsApp Web, which will also show WhatsApp Business users as online, at least until these changes make it into the non-beta, stable versions of these apps.
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