Our mission is to connect the world privately. As more of our conversations move from face-to-face to digital, we acknowledge there is a certain magic in just sitting down with someone in-person, sharing your thoughts in confidence, knowing you are both connecting in private and in that moment. The freedom to be honest and vulnerable, knowing that conversation isn’t being recorded and stored somewhere forever.
Deciding how long a message lasts should be in your hands. We’ve become accustomed to leaving a digital copy of just about everything we type without even thinking about it. It’s become the equivalent of a note taker following us around making a permanent record of everything we’ve said. This is why we introduced disappearing messages last year, and more recently a way for photos and videos to immediately disappear after being viewed once.
Today we are excited to provide our users with more options to control their messages and how long they stick around, with default disappearing messages and multiple durations.
WhatsApp users will now have the option to turn on disappearing messages by default for all new chats. When enabled, all new one-on-one chats you or another person start will be set to disappear at your chosen duration, and we've added a new option when creating a group chat that lets you turn it on for groups you create. This new feature is optional and does not change or delete any of your existing chats.
We are also adding two new durations for disappearing messages: 24 hours and 90 days, as well as the existing option of 7 days.
For people who choose to switch on default disappearing messages, we will display a message in your chats that tells people this is the default you’ve chosen. This makes clear it's nothing personal - it's a choice you've made about how you want to communicate with everyone on WhatsApp moving forward. Though of course, if you need a particular conversation to remain permanent, it’s easy to switch a chat back.
Living apart from family and friends for over a year has made it clearer than ever that just because we can’t physically talk in person, it doesn’t mean we should have to sacrifice the privacy of our personal conversations. We believe disappearing messages along with end-to-end encryption are two crucial features that define what it means to be a private messaging service today, and bring us one step closer to the feeling of an in-personal conversation.
To get started, go to your Privacy settings and select ‘Default Message Timer’. You can learn more here.