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WhatsApp introduces “View Once” feature to users: Here’s how to use it

WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook has taken a page out of their social media service Instagram and is going to introduce the feature of being able to send self-destructing photos and videos within the app. Expected to arrive in the latest update, this feature has been the one of the main features of Snapchat from the beginning, but Instagram implemented it in their app as well a couple years back, and now finally WhatsApp seems to be following suit. “View Once” will let users send photos and videos that, as the name implies, only be viewed once – after it has been opened by the recipient(s), it will automatically self-destruct. It will be gone from everywhere and cannot be forwarded, saved, starred, or shared; WhatsApp has confirmed. Any form of media sent using this feature will not be able to be saved by the recipient, even if the feature to automatically save photos or videos turned on in their smartphones.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if a media sent through the ‘View Once’ feature is not opened in a period of 14 days it will automatically be deleted. WhatsApp has asked users to practice caution and send this type of media only to trusted contacts as just like in Snapchat or Instagram, the recipient can still take a screenshot of the media. It is not yet clear if the sender will be notified if a screenshot is taken of such a form of media, as in Snapchat or Instagram.

WhatsApp's new “View Once” feature. 
WhatsApp’s new “View Once” feature.  (WhatsApp)

To use this feature, your WhatsApp needs to be updated to the latest version. To send a media in the View Once feature, you simply have to send a picture as you would before. This means opening any chat, individual or group, and adding a photo or video – either via the camera icon or the paperclip symbol on iOS and Android respectively. Before you press send, press the View Once icon located to the right of the text bar. It is the number one symbol that has a circle around it with the signature green colour associated with WhatsApp. Half the circle is made up of dots.

View Once media can also be sent on the Web App, the Desktop App as well as on KaiOS.

Facebook said: “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.

“That’s why today we’re rolling out new View Once photos and videos that disappear from the chat after they’ve been opened, giving 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. ”

WhatsApp added that, like with personal messages, View Once media will be protected by their state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption so only the sender and the recipient will be able to view it. Messages sent via this feature will appear with a new “one-time” icon. After that the media will appear as “opened” in the chat history. View Once is rolling out to all WhatsApp users starting from this week.


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