Why you should avoid using WhatsApp’s new disappearing message feature
WhatsApp's new disappearing message feature is all set to roll out soon now that it's FAQ page has been updated. The Facebook-owned messaging platform has been working on this feature for a while now and has essentially been playing catch-up to other rival messaging apps that already have the ‘self-deleting' message feature.
The FAQ page furnishes a bunch of details about how the Disappearing Messages feature is going to work, but it seems like the feature actually falls short of what other apps offer.
One of the issues for Disappearing Messages seems to be the fact that it's a feature that can just be turned on or turned off. Other apps that have this feature, like Signal and Telegram, offer customisable expiration times that range between a few seconds to a week.
Basically, WhatsApp's Disappearing Messages only disappear after seven days (a week) and that's the only option you have if you want to use this feature.
Also, another downside to Disappearing Messages is that the message recipient's phone defaults to automatically saving the media sent via Disappearing Messages even if the user had turned that option off. The FAQ notes that users will manually have to turn off auto-download functionality to stop this (here's how you do it - go to Settings, click on Data and Storage Usage, turn off auto downloads).
The fact that every user needs to do this makes you wonder what the point is of Disappearing Messages if they really don't disappear by default, Android Authority points out.
The FAQ section also warns that quoting a self-deleting message in a response means that the message ‘might' remain in a chat after seven days. Also, Disappearing Messages will not delete themselves if they are forwarded to another WhatsApp chat with Disappearing Messages option disabled.
So, by any chance, if you have the feature on and send a message to someone else if your message is quoted, it might stay on even after seven days and if it is forwarded to someone else who has the feature off, then it stays too. This makes the whole feature rather inefficacious if you may ask.
It would have been preferred if even a disappearing message was quoted, the message itself should disappear after a week leaving only the reply and also that one should not be able to forward these disappearing messages.
And if that's not all to make you wonder what the whole point actually is, WhatsApp has said that it is possible for users to screenshot a disappearing message and there are no screenshot alerts that the app offers as compared to Snapchat or Telegram. If there is a screenshot of your message, then it's there on whoever's device for all practical purposes for as long as the person chooses.
By the looks of it, if you really want to use this disappearing messages feature, it's better to shift to the likes of Signal or Telegram.