WhatsApp is introducing a new privacy feature that hides your “last seen” and “Online” status from people you don’t know or people you haven’t communicated with within the app. The upcoming update will help users maintain their privacy by preventing third-party applications from tracking WhatsApp users.
WhatsApp previously set the feature to “Everyone” by default, allowing anybody on the app to see your status. WhatsApp’s latest upgrade limits the display of your status to people you’ve added to the platform, and instead defaults to “My Contacts.”
The feature is now in beta on WhatsApp and will be released to the full public soon. Users will be able to hide their last seen status from anyone on their contact list using this feature.
In an email, WhatsApp support said, “To improve the privacy and security of our users, we’re making it harder for people you don’t know and haven’t chatted with from seeing your last seen and online presence on WhatsApp. This will not change anything between you and your friends, family, or businesses who you know or have previously messaged.”
There are third-party apps that can track when a contact was last seen and whether or not they are online. These apps can be found on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. These third-party apps might have been used to track other WhatsApp users’ online activity to know when they are online or not.
With this new feature, users will be protected from this. WhatsApp will no longer show the last seen and the online status of a user if you have never chatted up with that WhatsApp account.
The company is expanding this feature by adding the ‘My Contacts Except’ option. Users can now set who can see their “Online status” and “Last seen”.
What you should know
This year, WhatsApp has added a slew of new privacy features. WhatsApp now provides a view-once option for media and disappearing messages. Messages can now be deleted after 24 hours, seven days, or 90 days. Other users will be notified if you select disappearing messages on WhatsApp.