In what is sure to be music to the ears of those sick of having irrelevant memes sent to them every 30 seconds by people you barely know, you’ll soon be able to leave WhatsApp group chats without anyone finding out.
Whether it’s a group made up of extended family members you see only see twice a year, colleagues at work, mutual friends you’re not really that keen on, or people you only met one time because you were at the same pre-drinks together before a night out, most of us are part of a WhatsApp group chat we’d rather not be.
The type of group chat you’re not really sure how you became a part of, and the type of chat you’ve got no clue how to politely leave.
And a big part of the reason most of us can’t bring ourselves to leave those groups is because, the second you do, a little notification pops-up at the bottom of the chat to notify everyone else that you have “left” – which can, understandably, be pretty awkward and embarrassing.
Luckily though, WhatsApp and Mark Zuckerberg – who is chief executive of the messaging service’s parent company, Meta – is soon to introduce a handful of new changes designed with the aim of making written messages as “secure as face-to-face conversations”, and one of those changes is allowing people to leave group chats without other members in the group finding out.
The company says that now only administrators of the group will receive a notification to inform them a member has exited the chat.
On top of that somewhat life-saving change, the other changes being introduced will allow people to control who can see when they are online, and also prevent screenshots being taken by other users of auto-deleting ‘View Once’ messages.
At present, the messaging service broadcasts to all contacts of a user when they are online and have the app open, but now, this is something that users will be able to choose to share with others.
WhatsApp had also previously-warned users to “only send photos or videos with ‘View Once’ media enabled to trusted individuals”, as it was possible to take a screenshot or screen recording of the message before it disappeared – but now, the act of taking screenshots will be prohibited.
In his post announcing the new WhatsApp updates, Mr Zuckerberg explained that the company will “keep building new ways to protect your messages and keep them as private and secure as face-to-face conversations.”
Meta has stated on a number of occasions that it believes end-to-end encryption is the only way to ensure users are able to message each other without a third party eavesdropping on them.
Mr Zuckerberg announced his plans to transform privacy on WhatsApp in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal back in 2019, and made it impossible for Meta itself to read the content of messages that users share, which is similar to how it cannot access the content of WhatsApp messages.
However, these changes have not yet been implemented across Meta’s other platforms.
“We believe WhatsApp is the most secure place to have a private conversation,” added Ami Vora – Head of Product at WhatsApp.
“And to spread the word about these new features, we’re also kicking off a global campaign, starting with the UK and India, to educate people about how we work to protect their private conversations on WhatsApp.”
Tameside police officers hailed ‘absolute heroes’ after saving the life of a seven-year-old girl
Two Tameside police officers have been hailed as “absolute heroes” after saving the life of a seven-year-old little girl.
It comes after emergency services were called to an address in the Greater Manchester borough of Tameside earlier this week (29 November), and found a young girl who was struggling to breath and coughing up blood after choking on a sweet.
Police Constables Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell, from Greater Manchester Police‘s (GMP) Tameside division, were first on the scene.
To the huge relief of the girl’s parents, who were said to be “understandably distressed” and concerned for her welfare, PC Kincaid jumped straight into action and was able to utilise his first aid training to full effect by going on to successfully dislodge the sweet from the youngster’s throat, and then helping to calm her down before the paramedics arrived.
Whilst PC Kincaid looked after the little girl, PC Blundell did “everything he could” to help the parents remain calm.
Paramedics then took over once they arrived, and the young girl was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Reflecting on the incident, and hailing his officers “absolute heroes”, Superintendent Mike Walsh, from GMP’s Tameside district, said: “PCs Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell acted without hesitation during the incident, and took control of the situation that they were faced with.
“They deserve every credit for staying calm under extreme pressure and for working together as a team and utilising their training to lifesaving effect, and I’m sure the girl’s parents and family will consider them to be absolute heroes.”
“We’re both glad that we were in the right place at the right time,” PC Kincaid added.
“I have a daughter the same age as the little girl who needed our help, and I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was when she started breathing normally and said she was okay after I had managed to dislodge the sweet.