WhatsApp Privacy Update Lets You Hide 'Last Seen' Status From Specific Contacts

WhatsApp is rolling out two new privacy updates this month, including the ability to adjust the visibility of your "Last Seen" status on a contact-by-contact basis, and a way to silently leave group chats without all members of the group being notified when you do.

Whatsapp Feature
As regular WhatsApp users will know, the "Last Seen" status of a contact sits atop the conversation thread, informing you when that contact last opened and was active on the app.

Currently, you can disable your "Last Seen" status so that other contacts can't see when you were last online, but the setting's options are limited to "Everyone," "My Contacts," and "Nobody," and there's no way to make exceptions for individual contacts.

But that's about to change. In the Privacy settings, WhatsApp is adding the option "My Contacts Except..." which will let you select specific contacts so that they don't see when the last time was that you were active on the messaging network.

The second privacy update is coming to group chats, or more specifically when you leave them. Traditionally, when someone leaves a group chat, WhatsApp announces their exit to the entire group, making the act of leaving very public and potentially awkward.

WhatsApp officially allows up to 256 people to join a single chat group, so these announcements can also lead to a lot of coming and going during a conversation, which can cause a distraction to other members.

To ameliorate the situation going forward, when you leave a group chat, only the administrators of the group are notified. When a group member opts out, a dialog appears that says "Only you and group admins will be notified that you left the group."

Looking ahead, another privacy feature on its way to the massively popular messaging platform is a way to block users from taking screenshots of "view once" messages. Unlike disappearing messages, view once messages don't get deleted after a specific time limit, but instead go away after the recipient has seen it once.

The idea is that by blocking screenshots, recipients won't so easily be able to save or share sensitive information with other users. WhatsApp is still testing this feature, but says it will start rolling out to users soon.

Top Rated Comments

Skyscraperfan Avatar
8 weeks ago
I can't repeat often enough that WhatsApp may be the most popular messenger, but it is a privacy nightmare. Your former school mates may only be on WhatsApp, but for conversations with people you REALLY care about, you should switch to another messenger: Signal, Telegram, Threema, Teleguard, iMessage,... All of those are a better option than WhatsApp and some (like Threema) do not even require your phone number. I can understand that a phone number may be the only way to see who of your contacts also uses the same messenger, but if you have any other option of contacting a person, you can also asks them to use one of the more secure messengers. Today's smartphones have enough storage space and memory that it is no problem to install four or five different messengers to avoid delivering all your conversation metadata to Meta for free.

Do you still remember the WhatsApp group chats where everybody could add anybody and then each person in the chat had the phone number of all people in that chat? Who comes up with BS like that?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
icanhazmac Avatar
8 weeks ago
Stopped when I read WhatsApp and Privacy in the same sentence. The Zuck provides nothing he cannot skim personal data from.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mystery hill Avatar
8 weeks ago

WhatsApp officially allows up to 256 people to join a single chat group
512.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
8 weeks ago
These aren't the privacy features you're looking for. You can go about your business.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
svish Avatar
8 weeks ago
Nice to see the change when someone exits a group.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jimmy James Avatar
8 weeks ago
I deleted WhatsApp. If you can't contact me by other methods (including Signal) then you're not going to reach me.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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