According to TechCrunch, WhatsApp has just introduced several important privacy features, including the online status blocking option that was recently shown in beta.
The goal is to make WhatsApp “as private and secure as face-to-face conversations,” according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post.
You can now send messages while appearing to be offline thanks to the new “online presence control” feature. This adds an additional layer of privacy to the ability to hide your “last seen” status from specific contacts, which was introduced earlier this year.
You have granular control over the feature, deciding which contacts can and cannot see your online status. There are no restrictions, and you can swap people in and out whenever you want. Later this month, the feature will be available to all users on desktop and mobile.
WhatsApp is also experimenting with screenshot blocking for messages that disappear after a single view. When those messages were first introduced last year, Meta stated that you should still be cautious because you don’t know who screenshotted them.
A new feature that allows you to block such screenshots is currently being tested, but the company hopes to make it available to all users “soon.”
The final change allows you to leave groups privately without sending a mass notification to everyone else — though group admins will still be notified. This should prevent any awkwardness when it is rolled out to the desktop and mobile apps later this month.