WhatsApp Lets You Ghost Your Group Chats Silently

22 Oct 2022
Meta has announced new privacy features for WhatsApp users. From now on, users can leave group chats silently, control who can see their online status and block screenshots on View Once messages. Zuckerberg claims these features will help keep WhatsApp messaging "as private and secure as face-to-face conversations".
In this Sloggin thread, our community discusses these and other new feature releases and how they will impact human and app interaction.
This Slogging thread by Mónica Freitas, Sara Pinto, Manas Goel, Hamza, Janhavi Talhar and Shambhavi Sharma occurred in slogging's official #technology channel, and has been edited for readability.
Mónica FreitasAug 15, 2022, 4:19 PM
WhatsApp: Mark Zuckerberg reveals new privacy features
"Meta has announced new privacy features for WhatsApp users.
Users will be able to leave group chats silently, control who can see their online status and block screenshots on View Once messages.

Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said this would help keep WhatsApp messaging "as private and secure as face-to-face conversations".

It will begin rolling out the features this month, highlighting them in a global campaign, starting in the UK."
Leave silently:
"With the recent changes, users will be able to leave without notifying the other group chat users, only alerting group administrators.

Product head Ami Vora said it was part of the platform's focus on "building product features that empower people to have more control and privacy over their messages".

"We believe WhatsApp is the most secure place to have a private conversation," she said.

"No other global messaging service at this scale provides this level of security for their users' messages, media, voice messages, video calls, and chat back-ups."

The update will also see users given the option to allow only certain contacts - or no-one - to see when they are active on the platform, bringing online status options into alignment with "last seen" settings."
Mónica FreitasAug 15, 2022, 4:25 PM
Could this be the end of WhatsApp groups' drama?
Sara PintoAug 17, 2022, 10:53 AM
Mónica Freitas, personally, I usually don't have many issues with Whatsapp chats. You already have the option to block your status to everyone, which is already pretty cool.
Sara PintoAug 17, 2022, 10:55 AM
I believe Whatsapp is the most private place to hold a conversation since they encrypt messages and calls.
Sara PintoAug 17, 2022, 10:57 AM
But I really don't see the need to leave group chats silently. Then what? Does the admin have to announce to the group that someone left? Seems like unnecessary extra steps, haha.
Mónica FreitasAug 19, 2022, 12:38 PM
Sara Pinto, though I'm not a big Whatsapp user, I agree that it's a great platform for conversations privacy-wise.
Mónica FreitasAug 19, 2022, 12:43 PM
Sara Pinto, on another hand, I gotta play angel's advocate. I love this new feature. It's great that you can just leave without a big announcement. Before, we'd have to deal with people coming up asking for a justification. This way, the admin only announces if they want to - no awkwardness. And it makes a much cleaner message layout without all the left chat notifications clogging. And when it comes to business groups, it makes a much better place, in my opinion.
Sara PintoAug 23, 2022, 11:03 AM
Mónica Freitas, I think it brings more trouble. How awkward would it be if people were tagging you or counting on you for something while you are no longer in the group chat? Because sometimes it's not only the admin that's organizing something.
Sara PintoAug 23, 2022, 11:04 AM
For me, it would be more awkward to think I'm talking to someone and that person is no longer there.
Mónica FreitasAug 23, 2022, 12:58 PM
Sara Pinto, by the time you leave a group, it's most likely because you're no longer needed. At least, that's what has always been like for me. But I get your drift.
Mónica FreitasAug 23, 2022, 1:02 PM
Another recent update, this time on Snapchat, has been an improvement in child safety measures by letting parents have more control over what kids are doing. However, it doesn't allow parents to see received messages or photos. This is something that I find more troublesome. If parents can't see the content their kids are receiving, they won't be able to protect them. And though I understand we may want to preserve a bit of privacy, how much room should we leave for it when it comes to children?!
Sara PintoAug 26, 2022, 10:58 AM
Mónica Freitas so, what can parents control in this new update? I don't have kids, so I'm unsure where I stand. On one hand, you want safety for your children, and you should pay attention to what they're doing. On the other hand, kids also have to right to enjoy these apps and have privacy. I'm with you. Where should the line be drawn?
Sara PintoAug 26, 2022, 10:58 AM
I guess it all depends on what type of control they give parents, and also how they act with it.
Mónica FreitasAug 26, 2022, 2:02 PM
Sara Pinto, I think parents can see who their kids are in touch with.
Mónica FreitasAug 26, 2022, 2:03 PM
Sara Pinto, latest scoop: Whatsapp is also exploring the feature to create subgroups...inception style... groups within groups.
Sara PintoAug 29, 2022, 8:39 AM
Mónica Freitas, oh ok, that seems like a reasonable feature in parental control!
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Sara PintoAug 29, 2022, 8:40 AM
Mónica Freitas, not gonna lie, Whatsapp starting to look really shade by now haha. What's that for?!
Mónica FreitasSep 7, 2022, 2:46 PM
Sara Pinto, imagine you have a group chat with all your friend. And you want to set up a dinner party. Instead of having different groups, you can add a subgroup to discuss the party.
Sara PintoSep 8, 2022, 2:23 PM
Mónica Freitas, do we know if the participants of the main group have access to that subgroup?
Mónica FreitasSep 8, 2022, 2:25 PM
Sara Pinto, the whole point is to allow access to the participants of the main group, though you can exclude members from subgroups.
Sara PintoSep 8, 2022, 2:30 PM
Mónica Freitas, but when creating a subgroup is everyone automatically included, and then the admin has to exclude them, or can members create subgroups without no one outside the subgroup knowing? This is very curious
Mónica FreitasSep 9, 2022, 9:59 AM
Sara Pinto, I haven't checked it yet but I assume you'll be able to pick who to add.
Sara PintoSep 12, 2022, 11:23 AM
Mónica Freitas, still sounds a bit shady, in my opinion, haha. Not sure if I would be a big fan of this.
Sara PintoSep 12, 2022, 11:24 AM
However, apparently, another new feature of Whatsapp is that the admin can delete other participants' messages. I'm not sure how I feel about this either.
Mónica FreitasSep 12, 2022, 1:07 PM
Why not?! You can do it on other apps. The admin is the admin for a reason. To moderate the conversation.
Sara PintoSep 16, 2022, 8:39 PM
Moderating is not deleting messages. One thing is deleting your own, another is having someone delete it for you.
Mónica FreitasSep 19, 2022, 1:32 PM
It can be if the content is offensive or inappropriate.
Manas GoelSep 29, 2022, 5:35 PM
Interesting! Mónica Freitas a few days back only one of my friends left a WhatsApp group. Days passed by and this "Call for attention" of his went unnoticed 😂. This feature really saves us from the group drama :)
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HamzaOct 1, 2022, 10:49 AM
I really like the screenshot block on view once messages, it gives you confidence that your data is safe.
Janhavi TalharOct 3, 2022, 2:12 PM
I feel the generated features should limit to group conversations. There is a possibility that people joke in personal conversations and can be blocked for it. People in private conversations should be given the liberty to keep the communication un-moderated and un-monitored.
Shambhavi SharmaOct 3, 2022, 3:39 PM
I think they should work on the existing deletion of a message feature and allow deletion without any traces and expanding the limit of deleting a message from 1 hour to a few more would also save us from a lot of trouble!
Mónica FreitasOct 3, 2022, 5:13 PM
Manas Goel, the shade of it all! Your poor friend just wanted to be noticed... WhatsApp was the real villain here.
Mónica FreitasOct 3, 2022, 5:16 PM
Shambhavi Sharma hum, leaving no traces could be a great tool for harm. It could lead to some criminals using WhatsApp as means to exchange info without fear.
Shambhavi SharmaOct 7, 2022, 7:49 AM
Oooh, that's actually true, it could definitely happen.
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