About a year after the first reports on the subject, WhatsApp is officially launching a new feature called “Missing Messages”. These messages will be automatically deleted seven days after the date of their delivery, both in private conversations and in discussion groups. In private conversations each participant can enable the automatic deletion feature, while in groups the group managers are the ones to decide whether messages will be deleted after seven days, or saved indefinitely.
WhatsApp explains that their goal is to make the conversations in the app as similar as possible to face-to-face conversations. “We chose to start with deletion after seven days as we think this period of time offers confidence that the conversations are not kept forever, but also maintains practicality so that you do not forget what the topic of the conversation is.”
It is important to emphasize that this is not a system capable of completely removing any information sent to others. If one of the callers took a photo of the message, forwarded it to other recipients, or backed it up in the device memory, the message will not be deleted from all of these locations even after seven days. Another case is if another user quoted from the post in the same discussion: the quote will be deleted seven days after it was published, but not seven days from the date of publication of the original post.
The auto-delete feature will be available to users in both the Android version of iOS and the iOS version, and is expected to reach everyone by the end of this month.