Whatsapp ‘see once’ messages ‘will help pedophiles destroy evidence,’ warn child safety activists
PLANS for “see once” messages on WhatsApp will help pedophiles “destroy evidence,” child safety activists have warned.
Mark Zuckerberg, boss of Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp, said he was “excited” to release the feature – where the messages will disappear as soon as someone reads them.
WhatsApp is already encrypting messages, which means even the business can’t see what people are sending to each other.
And last year, it introduced a tool that allowed users to automatically delete messages in individual chats.
Speaking to WaBetaInfo, Zuckerberg said the new “show once” feature will be coming “soon”.
“WhatsApp was the first messaging network globally to deploy end-to-end encryption, and now we’re also working on rolling out more messaging features that are disappearing globally,” he said. at the point of sale in a WhatsApp message.
“We have already deployed the ability to enable disappearance of messages in any thread. We are about to start deploying ‘disappearance mode’, which enables disappearance of messages in all of your threads. chat so that your WhatsApp experience becomes essentially fleeting.
“We’re also about to start rolling out ‘see once’, so you can upload content and make it disappear after the person sees it.
“Overall, this will make WhatsApp messages even more private and secure! I’m excited to be releasing it to everyone soon.”
But the NSPCC criticized the move and said WhatsApp encryption already makes it difficult to prevent pedophiles from treating children.
Andy Burrows, head of online child safety policy at NSPCC, told The Telegraph: “Rolling out these new features puts children at increased risk while giving abusers more tools to hide their crimes.
“WhatsApp is already struggling to detect the full extent of child abuse on its platform… but the disappearance of messages and a ‘see once’ mode would allow criminals to systematically erase the evidence.”
A spokesperson for WhatsApp told the newspaper: “We believe in giving people more control over the privacy of their messages.”
It comes after WhatsApp backtracked on its plans to block features for users who disagree with its new policies.
The chat platform threatened to retain some ransomware features so that some users would have no choice but to click accept or stop using WhatsApp.
The deadline to accept the new WhatsApp policies was May 15.
The company had said that users would still have the option to agree to the new terms after that, but would slowly lose access to some features if they didn’t.
He originally said that reminders would become persistent and hard to ignore.
However, its website now says, “We currently have no plan for these reminders to become persistent and limit the functionality of the app. “
He added that the “majority of users who saw the update agreed.”
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The good news is that even users who didn’t agree to WhatsApp’s new policies by the May 15 deadline still have the option to continue working with their account.
WhatsApp also told The Next Web: “In view of recent discussions with various authorities and privacy experts, we would like to clarify that we currently do not intend to limit the functionality of WhatsApp to work for those who have not yet accepted the update.
“Instead, we’ll continue to remind users from time to time of the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, such as contacting a business that receives support from Facebook.”