Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp currently allows users to set their messages to disappear 7 days after they are sent. WhatsApp-centric website WABetaInfo reports that the platform may soon expand the functionality.
WhatsApp appears to be testing a new option that would make messages vanish automatically 24 hours after they have been sent. The feature has been in development for around a month and even though the screenshot uploaded by the site only shows it's being tested on an iPhone, it will likely be rolled out to Android users too.
When the new version will be available is still a point for speculation.
Ephemeral content was popularized by Snapchat, and WhatsApp's rivals Signal and Telegram also let users send self-destructing messages. Tweet's new fleets feature works similarly.
When WhatsApp initially launched the feature last year, it said it was starting with seven days to offer "peace of mind that conversations aren’t permanent, while remaining practical so you don’t forget what you were chatting about." This suggests it had plans to offer more options all along, which is hardly surprising.
The new option will presumably be an addition to the existing 7-day option and will work the same way: posts in a chat, including photos and videos, will be deleted after a predetermined period of time and group admins will be able to turn disappearing messages on or off in group chats.
There is still no way to prevent the other party from copying or screenshotting your messages, so be on your guard.