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WhatsApp Users Will Be Able To Send Private Photos And Videos But Here’s Why You Should Not Sext

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There is a new sexting app in town. It’s called WhatsApp.

Wait what! Well, kind of. On Wednesday, WhatsApp officially announced the View Once feature that will allow users to send disappearing photos and videos.

WhatsApp says that the new feature is all about giving more privacy control to users with the disappearing media feature. But read between the line. The feature is a clear indication that WhatsApp hopes to compete with Snapchat with it, and Snapchat is an app widely used for sexting.

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Summary of the matter:

It is safe to assume that the View Once feature of WhatsApp is going to be used for sexting, particularly in a country like Kenya where almost everyone has WhatsApp even if they don’t have Snapchat on their phones.

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Now, while it is safe to assume that WhatsApp View Once is going to be used for sexting, what we are going to tell you is equally important: Don’t try. It’s actually unsafe to use View Once in WhatsApp for sexting. Let’s explain, but before that, a quick primer on how View Once works.

Once the feature is enabled in your WhatsApp — it is rolling out to users gradually — they will be able to send photos and videos that will disappear from the app once they have been viewed. These photos and videos will also be not saved in the phone gallery app. Once a View Once photo or video has disappeared, in its place in the chat, users will see “opened”. This will be similar to how they see “deleted” currently when a WhatsApp message in any chat is deleted.

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Also, if a video or photo is sent using the View Once feature is not opened for 14 days, it will expire.

Sounds good. For a lot of messages, it does. There is no denying that the View Once messages will be safer if you want to send something private. The photo or video is going to be end-to-end encrypted, says WhatsApp. So, for example, you can share a card PIN for one-time use or a photo of an address or something similar in a more private way. It can even help people save storage on their phones.

Sexting on WhatsApp

To start with, it is missing a screenshot blocking feature that some apps allow. Once you send a photo or a video to your partner, there is no guarantee that they will not take screenshots. On an app like Snapchat, taking a screenshot alerts the user who sent the message. This screenshot or screen-recording detection is not perfect, but at least it is there. In WhatsApp, it’s missing.

But beyond this missing feature, there is this whole privacy aspect to sexting. While it is impossible to refrain from it — for most, we should say — the whole thing is rather anti-privacy because our phones are mostly anti-privacy. Once something is in a phone, there is always a risk of it falling into the wrong hands, whether you know whose hands they are or not. Probably, this is the reason why WhatsApp, even as it rolls out View Once, warns users to “only send photos or videos with the view once media enabled to trusted individuals.”

But trust is fickle. Trusted today, not trusted tomorrow, is fairly common in relationships.

There are many ways “sexts” can go wrong with WhatsApp View Once feature. There can be screenshots or screen-recording. There are a number of third-party apps that can snoop within chat apps and record screens, even with something like Snapchat that offers some protection against downloading and saving of photos or videos. So, just to summarise: while it is interesting to see a feature like View Once coming to WhatsApp before you decide to use the feature for sexting, do take a pause.

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Vanessa Waithera
Vanessa Waithera
Vanessa Waithera is a young writer from Daystar University. She has been a writer for 7 years and enjoys it as a hobby and passion. During her free time she enjoys nature walks, discoveries ,reading and takes pleasure in new challenges and experiences. Contact: [email protected]

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