WhatsApp: These are the new settings for user privacy

WhatsApp has more than 2 billion users worldwide, and is owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook

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WhatsApp on Tuesday announced a series of new privacy settings that will, among other things, allow users to read their messages without others knowing.

The platform will soon allow users to control who can see when they are online, block screenshots for certain messages, and leave groups without notifying other members.

WhatsApp has more than 2 billion users worldwide, and is owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook. Even announcing the changes to Facebook and Instagram, the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said that the company "will continue to build new ways to protect users' messages and keep them as private and secure as the conversations made by close".

WhatsApp has long touted its use of end-to-end encryption, meaning that only the sender and receiver of a message can see its contents. Additionally, like other private messaging platforms, it already allows users to send messages that disappear after a set period of time.

Last year, however, WhatsApp came under scrutiny after an update to its terms of use.

At the time, many users had raised concerns about a part of WhatsApp's privacy policy that detailed how much was shared with Facebook, whose reputation — when it comes to protecting user data — has taken a hit.

The said update caused some to turn to the also popular Signal platform.

Facebook sought to clarify the policy, saying its data sharing practices were nothing new and "do not affect how people communicate privately, with friends and their family".
Now, two of the new features being introduced to the platform – which allow the user to choose who can see that they are online as well as silently leave groups – will become available this month.

The screenshot-blocking tool, which will be used for messages meant to be read only once, is still in testing and will be available later, according to WhatsApp.

Source: CNN Business