Ever since Facebook had failed to acquire Snapchat, the company has been rather shameless in their “borrowing” of certain Snapchat features, the most popular being its Story feature which is now more or less ubiquitous with Instagram. Now it looks like Facebook could be borrowing another feature that Snapchat had popularized – self-destructing messages.
This is according to the folks at WABetaInfo who discovered that within the latest WhatsApp beta for Android, they found evidence suggesting that “Disappearing Messages” could soon become a feature for the messaging platform. As its name suggests, this will allow users to send messages to each other that will delete itself after a certain period of time.
Based on the options in the beta, users will be able to choose either 5 seconds for a message to disappear, or 1 hour. The gap does seem rather big and we would have preferred more options, but then again, this is in the beta which means that upon the final release, we might get more choices.
WhatsApp already allows users to unsend messages, but that’s mostly for accidental messages, but with disappearing messages, it is clear that this is more intended for confidential chats that might contain sensitive topics. We don’t know when the feature will be rolling out, but WABetaInfo claims that the feature is in the alpha stage of development, so it will probably be a while before it materializes for the rest of us.