WhatsApp is testing disappearing messages feature on its Android app, WABetaInfo reported. This will allow users to choose how long the messages they send to a contact will remain visible before they are automatically deleted. Users can choose from 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month and 1 year. We have reached out to WhatsApp for confirmation.

This feature will be available for both group chats and individual chats, according to the report. On enabling the feature, a clock icon will appear in the message bubble.

Signal, Telegram already have disappearing messages

Signal, the open source end-to-end encrypted messaging app that also uses the Signal protocol like WhatsApp, already has the disappearing messages feature. Users can choose to make the message disappear after 5 seconds to 1 week. On activation, a clock icon counts down until the message disappears. Signal is run by a non-profit organisation, Signal Foundation. Brian Acton, the founder of WhatsApp who had left the company after it got acquired by Facebook, had contributed $50 million to the foundation. The Russian app Telegram (which does not offer default end-to-end encryption) also has a self-destruct option for messages.

After news broke last year that a vulnerability in WhatsApp had been used to plant Israeli spyware Pegasus in victims’ phones, including 121 Indians, people had mass migrated to Signal and Telegram, the Economic Times had reported. The British Conservative Party too had made the shift to Signal, attracted by its disappearing messages feature, the Guardian had reported.