Major WhatsApp update changes how messages are seen – and helps you keep a low profile

WhatsApp users now have greater control over who sees their personal information, thanks to a new feature recently added to the encrypted messaging app.

The update allows you to alter the visibility of your ‘Last Seen’ status so that only selected contacts can view when you were last online.

Just as with Facebook, users will be able to switch visibility between ‘Everyone’, ‘My Contacts’, ‘Nobody’, and now, ‘My Contacts Except…’.

On top of this, you’ll also be able to control the visibility of profile photos and bios – however, you won’t be able to hide whether or not you’re online.

Using all this, you could, in theory, build a ‘blacklist’ of contacts that you want to stay in touch with but keep information private from.

WhatsApp users now have greater control over who sees their online status, bio, and profile pictures

“Through our privacy settings, you have the option to control who can see your last seen,” WhatsApp said in a blog post. “Please note you can’t hide your online.”

The new settings work both ways, however. You won’t be able to see the status or profile picture of people you choose to hide your own information from.

Previously, WhatsApp only let you choose between allowing everyone to see when you were last active on the app, or not letting anybody.

CAPTION: WhatsApp Last Seen status can soon be hidden from specific contacts
WhatsApp now lets you edit who can see your ‘last online’ status – and even create a ‘blacklist’ of contacts

WhatsApp has come under heavy criticism in the last year over plans to alter its privacy policy. The controversial changes would have seen user data shared with advertisers and third parties, although messages were to remain encrypted under the plans.

After millions of people moved to competitors Telegram and Signal, however, WhatsApp decided to postpone the changes – perhaps indefinitely.

London, UK - August 01, 2018: The buttons of WhatsApp, Snapchat, Skype Music and Messages on the screen of an iPhone.
WhatsApp has been busy introducing new privacy features ever since coming under fire for controversial privacy policy changes earlier this year

Now, it seems the app is adding more privacy features and functionality – such as allowing users to transfer their chat history between iOS and Android – to try and curry favour with its users.

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