You’ll soon be able to block screenshots on WhatsApp

Popular Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp is rolling out a new feature that will allow users to block screenshots of their ‘view once’ images and videos, WABInfo reports.

A new update, update for Android, is rolling out to beta users and will prevent people from taking a screenshot or a screen recording media that are set to expire after viewing once.

While users have been able to send disappearing images and videos for a while, there is currently nothing in place to prevent these private messages from being captured on devices through screenshots, nor is there any alert or notification send to the sender that a screenshot or recording has been taken.

Similar features on other applications like Instagram or Snapchat have at least one of these systems in place.

With the new update, if the feature is enabled, screen recording is blocked by default, and if a user attempts to take a screenshot a message saying “Can’t take screenshot due to security policy” appears on a black screen.

This should work the same with any third-party applications that try to bypass the security, WABInfo said.

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There are two caveats, however – the first is that the screenshot blocker only applies to media like images or videos, so users can still screenshot messages in the conversation that are set to disappear. The second is that it cannot prevent photos taken or videos recorded of the disappearing media from a second device.

“WhatsApp keeps working on improving the detection of those attempts to silently take screenshots, and more improvements may be available in the future,” WABInfo said. The features is expected to roll out to more users in the coming weeks.

Other features coming to WhatsApp soon include:

  • Call linking feature will allow users to generate a link for a call to share with others, so they can join the call with a single tap. WhatsApp noted that the feature is compatible with both audio and video calls and will be accessible through a banner at the top of the Calls tab. Meta chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg announced on Facebook that the new call linking feature would arrive on the messaging platform within the week. The platform is also testing secure encrypted video calling for up to 32 people.
  • Do not disturb API: This feature will allow WhatsApp to detect when the do not disturb mode was enabled. When a call is missed, and the do not disturb mode is enabled on iOS, the reason why the call was missed is highlighted within the conversation and the call history section. This information is only visible on your side, so the recipient doesn’t know that you missed the call because the do not disturb mode was enabled on your device. This feature is currently under development.
  • Camera update: WhatsApp is working on two new buttons to let users switch the camera mode from photo to video and vice versa. In the current version of WhatsApp, you need to tap and hold to record a video, but thanks to this feature, you do not need to tap and hold in the future but just switch to the video mode. This feature is currently under development and will be available for both Android and iOS.
  • Save disappearing messages: Now that WhatsApp allows users to enable disappearing messages – where messages will disappear after seven days – a new feature will soon allow users to save selected messages. All saved disappearing messages will be listed in a new “kept messages” section. This will be especially handy in work groups, where users can save important notices. It must be noted that only admins can keep or unkeep messages in groups. This feature is still under development.
  • Document caption for android: Thanks to this feature, it will be possible for Android users to attach a caption to a document before sharing it. This new feature will also allow users to view a preview of the document before sharing it.

Read: You can be fired for sending WhatsApp messages in South Africa

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