Facebook brings Snapchat-like view once photo and video feature to WhatsApp

WhatsApp's view once mode is being touted by the social media giant as a move to give users more privacy.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor
Image: Facebook

Facebook has announced it is rolling out a new view once feature that it says will give users "more control over their privacy".

When photos and videos are shared on WhatsApp, they are automatically saved to a recipient's camera roll. The view once feature allows users to send photos and videos that disappear from a WhatsApp chat after a recipient has opened it once. Users will be unable to forward, save, star, or share the media that was sent as a view once media.

When the media has been viewed, the message will appear as "opened", which Facebook said will "help avoid any confusion about what was happening in the chat at the time". Users, however, will only be able to see if a recipient has opened a view once photo or video if they have read receipts turned on.

Media that is shared using the view once feature will be marked with a "one-time" icon.

If a view once photo or video is not opened within 14 days of being sent, the media will expire from that chat. However, it can be restored from backup if the message is unopened at the time of back up. If the photo or video has already been opened, Facebook said the media will not be included in the backup and cannot be restored.

The company assured that like all personal messages sent on WhatsApp, view once media is "protected by the platform's end-to-end encryption". But like all encrypted media on WhatsApp, it "may be stored for a few weeks on WhatsApp's servers" after it's been sent.

"While taking photos or videos on our phones has become such a big part of our lives, not everything we share needs to become a permanent digital record. On many phones, simply taking a photo means it will take up space in your camera roll forever," the company said in a blog post.

"That's why today we're rolling out new View Once photos and videos that disappear from the chat after they've been openedgiving users even more control over their privacy.

"For example, you might send a View Once photo of some new clothes you're trying on at a store, a quick reaction to a moment in time, or something sensitive like a Wi-Fi password."

Facebook introduced a similar feature it called Vanish Mode to Messenger and Instagram at the end of last year.

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