Snooping becomes tougher as WhatsApp focuses on user privacy

By default, the messenger app will only notify your current saved contacts about your online status.

WhatsApp is working to make it more difficult for strangers to snoop on its users’ online status.

The messaging service began the process a few weeks ago when it enabled beta users to hide their “Last Seen” status from certain contacts, but it appears that the developers now aim to make it more difficult for outsiders to see when you were last online by default.

According to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is altering the default “Last Seen” visibility on Android and iOS from “Everyone” to “My Contacts.”

WhatsApp support has even verified the new default option on Twitter and it appears that the service is pushing it out to everyone automatically.

Strangers will no longer have access to WhatsApp users’ status

People and businesses, with whom a user hasn’t previously communicated, will no longer be able to view his/her online status, and vice versa.

While it’s always been possible to limit who may access a user’s personal online activities to contacts or even nobody, WhatsApp used to by default enable everyone to see everyone’s “Last Seen” status.

Huge blow for apps ‘selling’ WhatsApp user information

Third-party applications that allow outsiders to track someone else’s online status, giving them intimate information into their messaging habits and maybe even sleep and work routines, are poised to suffer a fatal blow.

Consequently, these services will become more ineffective since they rely on publicly available online status data.

Meta is working to make its services more private

While users may make their “Last Seen” status public to everyone in WhatsApp settings, but given the recent controversy with Meta (formerly Facebook) on how it handles the privacy of its user base, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the option to change “Last Seen” is entirely removed from the app settings.

It is in place to mention here that WhatsApp is working hard to make its service more private, at least in terms of other people’s information. Aside from the previously stated ability to hide one’s online status from certain contacts, the app has included the option to make all chat messages disappear after a particular amount of time by default.

Aasif Ganaie

Aasif is a journalist and a news enthusiast based in Jammu & Kashmir. He voyages to explore and uncover the stories More »
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