WhatsApp has released a new feature for its users that will allow them to send images and videos that will disappear after they’ve been opened. The feature is called ‘View Once.’
The company warns users to “only send photos or videos with the view once media enabled to trusted individuals” – as it is still possible to take a screenshot or screen recording of the media before it disappears.
The ‘View Once’ feature is only available on the latest version of WhatsApp, which is enabled by tapping an icon in the text bar before sending the message.
WhatsApp assures that the “View Once” media is protected by end-to-end encryption so that even the platform does not have access to it. Such media files will be marked as “one-time” and once viewed, it will show an “opened” tag. WhatsApp further states that such media files will not be stored in the Gallery of the receiver. Users will not be able to forward, save, star, or share photos or videos that were sent or received with the “view once” feature.
“NSPCC research shows 10% of child sex crimes on Facebook-owned apps take place on WhatsApp but, because they can’t see the content, it accounts for less than 2% of the company’s child abuse reports to police,” said senior child safety online policy officer Alison Trew.
“This View Once feature could put children at even greater risk by giving offenders another tool to avoid detection and erase evidence, when efforts to combat child sexual abuse are already hindered by end-to-end encryption.
“Facebook must spell out how they’ve mitigated these risks, but this is seemingly another example of tech firms failing to consider the protection of children when balancing the rights of users to privacy and safety.
“Regulation must put this right by embedding the principle of safety by design in companies to ensure they consider how changes to products and services will affect their response to the child abuse threat.”
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