WhatsApp


'WhatsApp' Articles Page 2

Afghan Government Moves to Block WhatsApp, Telegram Messaging Services

Afghanistan's government has ordered a block on messaging services WhatsApp and Telegram, according to a letter sent to the country's internet providers that was widely shared over social media on Saturday. The letter was reportedly sent to Afghan ISPs after the country's National Directorate for Security ordered the move, in what some observers believe is an attempt to prevent use of the encrypted messaging services by the Taliban and other insurgent groups. According to Reuters, the letter by telecoms regulator ATRA, dated November 1 and signed by an official of the regulator, directed internet companies to block Telegram and Facebook's WhatsApp services "without delay" for a period of 20 days. However, the temporary ban does not yet appear to have been enforced, with both services said to be still working normally on Saturday on both state-owned operator Salaam and private service providers. Afghan government instructed telecom companies to shutdown @WhatsApp & @telegram in Afghanistan. Reason unknown. #AFG pic.twitter.com/l156HBC0ri— Ahmad Mukhtar (@AhMukhtar) November 2, 2017 Public use of mobile phones has boomed in Afghanistan since the Taliban was removed from power by a U.S-led campaign in 2001, while use of services like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Viber are popular among the country's politicians as well as the Taliban, which also maintains a sophisticated social media operation. However, civil rights groups and Afghan social media users have criticized the attempt to block the chat platforms. Many argue such a ban is unenforceable anyway because

WhatsApp Starts Letting Users Delete Messages After They've Been Sent

WhatsApp is currently rolling out the ability to delete and revoke messages after they've been sent. The function has been in testing as a hidden feature in several earlier versions of the mobile chat app, but is officially going live this week. Going forward, WhatsApp users will be able delete messages from conversations and group chats up to seven minutes after they've tapped the send button, as long as both sender and receiver have updated to the latest version of the app. The new option, called "Delete for everyone" will appear in addition to "Delete for me", and is already showing up for some users when they select a message to trash. In a published support article, WhatsApp notes that recipients "may see your messages before it's deleted or if deletion was not successful", so the feature isn't guaranteed to work all the time. It's also possible that some users may still see the messages in notifications before they're deleted. Users aren't notified if a delete request fails, but messages that have been successfully deleted for everyone will be replaced with "This message was deleted" in recipients' chat threads. According to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is currently testing group voice calls internally, so it's likely this feature will also turn up in a forthcoming update. WhatsApp is a free download for iPhone from the App Store. [Direct Link]

WhatsApp Gains Support for Live Location Sharing

Popular messaging app WhatsApp was today updated with a new feature that's designed to allow WhatsApp users to share their location in real-time with family and friends. Live Location through WhatsApp features end-to-end encryption and includes tools to allow users to specify who they share their location with and for how long. To use Live Location, WhatsApp users need to open a chat with a person or group, select the "Location" feature in the attach button, and then choose the new option to "Share Live Location." When selecting the share option, users can select an amount of time the location sharing feature will last before expiring. The person on the other end will be able to see the user's real-time location on a map, and if, in a group chat, more than one person shares their location, multiple locations will be displayed on the same map. Live Location is available on both iOS and Android devices, and it will be rolling out to the WhatsApp apps "in the coming weeks." WhatsApp can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

WhatsApp Video and Photo Messages Reportedly Blocked in China

China has reportedly started blocking some features of the WhatsApp messaging service, as authorities continue to tighten controls over the country's internet. WhatsApp users began reporting problems with sharing content on the chat platform yesterday, with many unable to send video and pictures. Despite initial fears of a communications-wide ban of the Facebook-owned service, text-based messages within the app appear to be unaffected. WhatsApp's reach in China is small compared to homegrown chat service WeChat, which boasts 900 million users but is routinely subjected to state monitoring and censorship. However, Chinese users concerned about privacy have increasingly turned to the encrypted WhatsApp platform to communicate with friends and relatives as well as businesses abroad. Facebook and Instagram have remained blocked by China's Great Firewall since 2009 and 2014, respectively. Encrypted messaging service Telegram was also blocked inside China after it became popular with the country's human rights lawyers, while several domestic VPNs – which are commonly used to evade censorship and access services abroad – were recently shut down after authorities said they were unauthorized to run. China appears to be clamping down on potential sources of politically sensitive news as it prepares for a major leadership reshuffle in Beijing. The event happens every five years and often leads to a tightening of online controls to project an air of stability in the country. The death of jailed Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo last week also spurred censors into

Latest WhatsApp Update Brings Pinned Chat and Multi-Format File Sharing Features

The latest update to WhatsApp Messenger rolled out on iOS on Sunday and adds a couple of notable new features, one of which is the ability to share files of any type within conversations. Version 2.17.40 of WhatsApp is the first to allow any file type to be sent using the Document option in the Share menu. Previously files were limited to PDF documents, but now the only limitation is file size, which is officially 100MB. It's also now possible to pin chats to the top of the chat list to quickly find important conversation threads. To pin a chat, swipe right on the chat and tap the pin icon. Additionally, users can now tap and hold on groups of multiple photos they've received to quickly forward or delete them. Version 2.17.40 also includes a couple of new hidden features that still appear to be in testing, suggesting they'll soon become public in a forthcoming update. According to WABetaInfo, they include in-line YouTube video playback with Picture-in-Picture support and an emoji search function. Finally, a new Recall feature is expected to be enabled in 2.17.40+ that allows users to delete texts, images, videos, GIFs, documents, quoted messages, and even Status replies after they have been sent, as long as the Recall feature is used within a five-minute window. WhatsApp is a free download for iPhone from the App Store. [Direct Link]

WhatsApp Gains Photo Filters and Automatic Albums, 'Recall' Feature Reportedly Imminent

WhatsApp gained a handful of new features this week, including photo filters, quick replies, and automatic albums in chat threads. The photo filters in WhatsApp 2.17.30 are similar to those found in Snapchat and Instagram: users can now add one of five filters to photos, videos, and GIFs before sending, enabling them to enhance the look or correct poor lighting. Pop, black and white, cool, chrome, and film filters can be selected with a simple swipe up on the image. Image via TechCrunch In addition, WhatsApp now automatically generates album views when multiple images or videos are sent consecutively in the same chat window, thereby avoiding the usual stream of individual images that clog up a thread. Elsewhere, users can reply to a specific message in a thread by swiping across it, which takes it to the bottom of the chat window where they can type a response. WhatsApp says the feature is particularly useful during fast-moving group chats when a particular message can get quickly lost higher up the thread. Finally, WhatsApp is said to be readying a much-requested hidden "unsend" feature in another imminent update to the app. According to fan site WABetaInfo, Whatsapp will enable "Recall" in version 2.17.30+, allowing users to delete texts, images, videos, GIFs, documents, quoted messages, and even Status replies after they have been sent, as long as the Recall feature is used within a five-minute window. WhatsApp is a free download for iPhone from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Facebook Fined $122 Million for Misleading EU Regulators Over WhatsApp Deal

The European Commission has fined Facebook $122 million for misleading regulators over its 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp. The announcement came on Thursday in a press release in which the Commission said that the social media company had provided "incorrect or misleading information" when it told regulators that it would be unable to link the profiles of users on WhatsApp and Facebook. However, WhatsApp announced in 2016 that it would start sharing some user data, including phone numbers, with Facebook, contradicting the earlier claim. In its press release, the Commission said that Facebook knew the data crossover was technically feasible in 2014 when it bought WhatsApp for $22 billion, but that it had stated otherwise when asked by merger regulators. "When Facebook notified the acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014, it informed the Commission that it would be unable to establish reliable automated matching between Facebook users' accounts and WhatsApp users' accounts. It stated this both in the notification form and in a reply to a request of information from the Commission. However, in August 2016, WhatsApp announced updates to its terms of service and privacy policy, including the possibility of linking WhatsApp users' phone numbers with Facebook users' identities. The Commission has found that, contrary to Facebook's statements in the 2014 merger review process, the technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook and WhatsApp users' identities already existed in 2014, and that Facebook staff were aware of such a possibility."The ruling by the Commission

WhatsApp Quietly Extends Encryption to iCloud Backups of Chat Logs

WhatsApp has bolstered the security of the iCloud backup feature in its messaging platform, in an attempt to protect archived chat logs from being accessed in a readable form (via TechCrunch). WhatsApp has offered end-to-end encryption on its messaging service for some time, but that encryption did not previously extend to iCloud backups of messages. Given that Apple holds the encryption keys for iCloud, a subpoena of Apple or an unauthorized iCloud hack could potentially allow access to WhatsApp messages backed up there. However, WhatsApp has moved to prevent that possibility by also pre-encrypting the backup files. "When a user backs up their chats through WhatsApp to iCloud, the backup files are sent encrypted," a WhatsApp spokesperson told Forbes, confirming the change. WhatsApp quietly added the encryption to WhatsApp iCloud backups late last year, however the change only came to light last week when professional hackers claimed to be able to circumvent the security measure. According to Russian-based Oxygen Forensics, third-party hacking tools are able to download the encrypted WhatsApp data backed up to iCloud and then generate an encryption key to decrypt the data using the associated SIM card. The tools could potentially be used by police with access to a phone where the WhatsApp account has been deactivated but the encrypted messages are still stored in iCloud. WhatsApp has yet to comment on the claims. The encryption debate has been reignited in recent weeks on both sides of the Atlantic. FBI director James Comey revealed earlier this month

WhatsApp Users Can Now Ask Siri to Read Out Their Latest Messages

WhatsApp users on iOS can now ask Siri to read to them their latest messages when they go handsfree, following the latest update to the chat app. Version 2.17.2 brings the feature to users running at least iOS 10.3 on their devices, along with some other tweaks and updates to the messaging platform. In the My Updates screen, it's now possible to select multiple statuses at once and forward or revoke them, and the old Voice Call icon has been replaced with a "+" icon, which when tapped displays a list of contacts for making both voice and video calls. Elsewhere, the two-step verification interface has been redesigned to make it easier to set up, while the Group Info, Contact Info, and Calls sections have also received interface overhauls to make them simpler to use. The camera now also remembers its last state of usage. Lastly, support for the Persian language has been added to the chat service. WhatsApp is available as a free download on the App Store for iPhone. [Direct Link]

WhatsApp Likely to Launch Peer-to-Peer Payments in India Within 6 months

Mobile chat platform WhatsApp could be set to roll out peer-to-peer payments in India, which is home to its largest market with over 200 million users (via TechCrunch). According to India-based media company The Ken, WhatsApp plans to use a cross-bank payment system called UPI, which is backed by the government, to enable payments between users within the next six months. WhatsApp has neither confirmed nor denied the claim, but there are precedents for the messaging service to move into mobile payments. During a visit to the country in February, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton met with India's IT minister and said the company was "in the early stages" of exploring how it might incorporate payment systems into the platform. Last week, Swedish-based phone number lookup service Trucaller introduced user-to-user payments in India via a tie-in with ICICI Bank, which makes use of the same UPI system WhatsApp is said to be integrating. Facebook has had a payments system in its Messenger app for some time in the U.S., but WhatsApp is far more popular in India and is already being used there as an e-commerce portal despite not yet offering any features that explicitly support the practice. Samsung launched Samsung Pay in India for select Samsung Galaxy series devices last month, after it partnered up with Axis, HDFC, ICIC, SBI and Standard Chartered banks, and embraced the UPI standard. Apple spoke with the Indian government about introducing Apple Pay back in 2015, while talks with several banks in the country about incorporating the system are said to be ongoing.

UK Government Seeking Access to Encrypted Messaging Apps in Wake of London Attack

Amber Rudd, the United Kingdom's home secretary, recently mentioned that it is "completely unacceptable" that the government could not gain access to messages stored on mobile applications protected by end-to-end encryption, such as WhatsApp. Rudd is calling for the UK police and other intelligence agencies to be given access to such apps to thwart any future terrorist plots, coming in the wake of the attack in London last week (via The Guardian). Rudd's next step is summoning leaders of various technology companies to a meeting with the UK government on March 30 "to discuss what to do." The home secretary mentioned that the government would be willing to pass completely new legislation focusing on encrypted messaging and mobile apps if the talks this Thursday don't go her way. Rudd referred to WhatsApp, and similar apps, as potential "secret places" for terrorists to hide. But she stressed it was her desire to persuade internet and social media companies to cooperate voluntarily with the government on this and also the posting of extremist material online. Rudd added: “It is completely unacceptable. There should be no place for terrorists to hide. “We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.” Rudd's focus on WhatsApp is spurned by information that Khalid Masood -- the individual behind the London attacks outside Parliament -- used the Facebook-owned messaging app just minutes before the attack. While police believe Masood worked

WhatsApp Announces New 'Status' Feature for Sharing Videos and Photos That Expire After 24 Hours

Following in the footsteps of Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook-owned WhatsApp today announced the launch of "Status," a new feature that's designed to let users share videos, photos, and GIFs that expire each day. The Status addition to WhatsApp is essentially identical to the "Stories" feature in Instagram and Snapchat, both of which allow users to share daily life updates with friends and family that expire after 24 hours. With WhatsApp Status, WhatsApp users can use the in-app camera to share photos or videos that can be annotated with emoji, text snippets, and drawings. Status updates can be shared with all contacts, rather than just individuals or specific groups, but there are also options to choose who is able to see what. Through the new Status tab, WhatsApp users can view all of the updates that their address book contacts have shared on the app and reply privately to updates. All Status updates expire after a 24 hour period. WhatsApp is launching Status to celebrate its eighth anniversary. The new feature is rolling out to WhatsApp users starting today and should be available soon for all iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone users. WhatsApp can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

WhatsApp Rolling Out Two-Step Verification Security Feature to All Users

WhatsApp is in the process of rolling out a two-step verification feature for the messaging platform from today. The security option has been in testing for several months, but is finally going live for all users of the app. With the optional feature, WhatsApp users will be able to securely verify their number with a custom-generated six-digit passcode whenever they install the app on a new device. To activate the security feature, users should open the app and tap through to Settings -> Account -> Two-step verification -> Enable. Upon enabling the feature, users are asked if they want to enter their email address. This is used by WhatsApp to send a link via email to disable two-step verification in case the six-digit passcode is forgotten, and also to help safeguard the account. To help users remember their passcode, WhatsApp will periodically ask them for it. There is no option to disable this without disabling the two-step verification feature. WhatsApp is available as a free download on the App Store for iPhone. [Direct Link]

WhatsApp 2.17.1 Ups Bulk Media Message Limit, Adds Offline Message Queueing and Storage Management

WhatsApp for iOS received an update today, bringing some additional improvements to the messaging platform. For the first time, users can now tap "send" on messages when they don't have a connection, and the messages will be sent when a data connection is re-established. Multiple messages can be queued up in the offline mode, so users are free to carry on their side of a conversation until connection resumes. The old storage screen (left); with new management options (right) Elsewhere, WhatsApp developers have redesigned the storage usage screen, which now lets users manage their phone's storage space by deleting selected message types, such as videos, from specific chat threads. The storage screen options can be accessed by going to Settings -> Data and Storage Usage -> Storage Usage and tapping "Clear Chat". Lastly, the v2.17.1 update enables users to send up to 30 photos or videos at once. WhatsApp is a free download on the App Store for iPhone. [Direct Link]

Facebook Halts Collection of WhatsApp User Data Across Europe

Facebook has temporarily halted the collection of WhatsApp user data across Europe after pressure from privacy watchdogs, according to the Financial Times. The move follows news last week that the social media company, which owns the popular chat platform, agreed to pause data collection in the U.K. while a government probe there inquired into WhatsApp's privacy policy. The Irish Data Protection Commissioner's office, which acts as Facebook's European regulatory body, confirmed to FT that the company had suspended European data collection since last week. The change in data gathering means that WhatsApp users across Europe will no longer have select information shared with Facebook, including the phone number a user verifies during the registration process and the last time a user accessed the service. Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, but only began collecting data from users of the chat service in August this year. In September, German authorities ordered a halt to the practice in the country after ruling that it was an infringement of national data protection law. Last month, pan-European privacy watchdogs signed an open letter to WhatsApp saying they had serious concerns over the privacy policy change, and urged Facebook to pause data collection until appropriate legal protections could be

WhatsApp Gains End-to-End Encrypted Video Calling

WhatsApp messenger service is today officially rolling out end-to-end encrypted video calling to over 1 billion users of the app across the globe (via TechCrunch). Video calling had recently been spotted in beta versions of the Facebook-owned chat service on Android, but the feature is now becoming available across all platforms. Tapping the call button in the top right corner of an open chat thread now brings up the option to initiate a voice or video call. During video calls, users see typical options like switching between front-facing and rear-facing camera, muting the call, or hanging up. The addition of video calling to WhatsApp aligns the service with Facebook Messenger, Viber, Google Duo, and other chat apps which already include the feature. However, WhatsApp's huge user base and cross-platform support gives it a significant advantage over similar services such as FaceTime, which currently only works on Apple devices, and Google Duo, which only works on later versions of iOS and Android. "We obviously try to be in tune with what our users want," said WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, speaking to Reuters. "We're obsessed with making sure that voice and video work well even on low-end phones." WhatsApp recently tested two-factor authentication in beta versions of the app, suggesting the next update could have a significant security focus. WhatsApp rolled out end-to-end encryption on the platform earlier this year, making it impossible for the company or state authorities to gain access to the contents of messages. WhatsApp is available as a free

Facebook Suspends WhatsApp Data Sharing in the U.K. Following Privacy Probe

Facebook has agreed to pause data collection from WhatsApp users in the United Kingdom following a government probe into the company's privacy policy (via Engadget). Back in August, Facebook-owned WhatsApp updated its terms of service and privacy policy to reflect that it would begin sharing select data with the social media network, including the phone number a user verifies during the registration process and the last time a user accessed the service. Facebook argued that the new policy would allow it to better fight spam and abuse, deliver better friend suggestions and more relevant ads. However, the company soon came under fire from European Privacy watchdogs who cited "serious concerns" over the policy change, while the U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is now eight weeks into its own probe. The U.K.'s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham explained the reasons for the probe on the ICO website: "I had concerns that consumers weren't being properly protected, and it's fair to say the enquiries my team have made haven't changed that view. I don't think users have been given enough information about what Facebook plans to do with their information, and I don't think WhatsApp has got valid consent from users to share the information. I also believe users should be given ongoing control over how their information is used, not just a 30-day window."ICO said it was "pleased" that Facebook had agreed to pause using data from U.K. WhatsApp users for advertisements or product improvement purposes. As part of the inquiry, the ICO has also asked

WhatsApp for iPhone Finally Supports GIFs, Including Live Photos

Facebook's popular messaging app WhatsApp for iPhone was updated over the weekend with long-overdue support for animated GIFs. WhatsApp users can now send and receive their own animated GIFs, or discover and share GIFs from built-in services such as Giphy and Tenor -- which one exactly appears to be dependant on your region. Likewise, videos that are shorter than six seconds and Live Photos can also be sent as GIFs. To send a Live Photo as a GIF, simply 3D Touch the photo after tapping on Attach > Photo/Video Library and choose "Select as GIF." WhatsApp is available as a free download on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone. The app is now at version

WhatsApp Update Adds the Ability to Write and Draw on Photos and Videos

WhatsApp today added several new camera improvements for its iPhone app, including the ability to draw, write, and place emoji on photos and videos before sharing them. The features are similar to the camera features offered in both Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Users will be able to use the new editing tools for photos and videos captured within the app and photos and videos previously captured and stored within the Photos app. The editing tools will also include the ability to change the color and font of the text. The WhatsApp camera has also gained several other improvements, including front-facing flash, the ability to zoom in and out by sliding a finger up and down, and quickly switching from the front-facing camera to the rear by double tapping. WhatsApp is available on the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Uber, Lyft, WhatsApp Updates Bring First SiriKit and CallKit SDK Integrations to iOS 10 Users

With iOS 10, Apple opened Siri to third-party developers with a public API, allowing the personal assistant to summon third-party services and apps hands-free. Two of the first apps to make use of the new Siri SDK are WhatsApp Messenger and ride-hailing app Uber, both of which issued updates for their flagship apps this week. Uber users can now hail a ride with a "Hey, Siri" command, followed by "Book me an Uber" or other variants. Apple has also allowed the ride-hailing service to be integrated into Apple Maps under a new Ride tab, where users can choose from a list of available drivers in the area. As pointed out by MacRumors readers, Lyft has also been updated to support both functions. WhatsApp users meanwhile can now use Siri to dictate and send messages as well as initiate calls. WhatsApp also becomes one of the first third-party apps to make use of CallKit, Apple's new framework that enables VoIP calls to function in iOS 10 like FaceTime and regular cellular calls. VoIP service Viber also supports the feature. After updating the app, incoming WhatsApp calls appear in the lock screen showing the caller's profile picture and the typical call response buttons. In addition, WhatsApp contacts are now integrated into the native Contacts app in iOS 10, and also appear in the Phone app's Favorites. The WhatsApp update includes a number of other enhancements, including the ability to forward multiple chats at once. To enable Siri integration for the apps, users should go to Settings -> Siri -> App Support and toggle the relevant switches to the on