WhatsApp Does Down As The World Ushers in 2018

It looks like the beginning of 2018 could have been better for WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook Inc. Just a few minutes after the world entered 2018, the company server stopped responding.

whatsapp

The server errors are due to the high amount of messages (probably) wishing for a happy new year to friends and families.  A spokesman for the company said in a statement. “WhatsApp users around the world experienced a brief outage today that has now been resolved” after the problem was fixed after more than an hour.

India is the biggest market for WhatsApp as in the country, WhatsApp is used by more than 200 million users. However, the problem was not limited to the country as users from other countries including the US also complained on the social media.

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WhatsApp Policies Are Not As Secure As You Think: Report

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps on both major mobile platforms, iOS, and Android. Facebook, who now owns the said messaging client, has worked a lot in recent years to increase the privacy and security of the app and we have also covered some tips to make WhatsApp more secure for you.

But it looks like WhatsApp’s policies are not as safe as they can be, which was revealed by Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF said in a report titled “Who has your back” that WhatsApp policies are too weak to protect users from governments.

“WhatsApp does not explicitly state that it prohibits third-party access to its user data, nor does it say that third parties are prohibited from allowing WhatsApp user data to be used for surveillance purposes,”  and “Our reading of WhatsApp’s public-facing policies would not prohibit it from sharing data to be used for surveillance,” the EFF report wrote about the messaging service.

whatsapp

Alongside with WhatsApp, the company prepared reports about many other companies, among them, Adobe, Dropbox, Uber, WordPress, Pinterest and some others did earn good marks and praise for their user privacy centric policy. Two biggest disappointments were Amazon and WhatsApp. both scored poor marks and were deemed not consumer privacy centric.

“This information is a magnet for governments seeking to surveil citizens, journalists, and activists. When governments do so, they need to follow the law, and users are increasingly demanding that companies holding their data enact the toughest policies to protect customer information,” said EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman.

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WhatsApp is testing a way to actually make money

A report by Reuter states that Whatsapp has begun testing ways for businesses to directly message their consumers. So Whatsapp may soon be ready to make real money.

Whatsapp used to charge a $0.99 annual fees, but after being acquired by Facebook, Whatsapp abandoned the annual fee. Whatsapp had then said that it will let the users interact with businesses and organization with the aim of making money. So this step by Whatsapp wasn’t that unexpected.

The Reuters report said, that some Y Combinator startups have begun testing the feature,

“The trial is still in the early stages, said Umer Ilyas, co-founder of Cowlar Inc, one of the startups involved. The system is highly anticipated in remote places where WhatsApp is especially popular, he said.

Cowlar makes collars for dairy cows, collecting data on their activity and recommending changes to improve milk yield. The company, which is testing the collars in the United States, wants to use WhatsApp to send automatic alerts from the collars directly to farmers if say, a cow is not behaving normally, Ilyas said.”

Another report by Mashable also supports the Reuters report. It suggests that a variant of Whatsapp, called Whatsapp for Business is being tested in India.

This step is quite similar to what Facebook did with its Messenger. The change had led to a huge increase in business related bots in Facebook. Whatsapp is more popular communication tool than Messenger in many areas, so taking a similar approach with Whatsapp makes sense.

Now it has to be seen when this features for Whatsapp will be officially announced.

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After Facebook and Instagram, WhatsApp is The Latest App To Copy Snapchat

Over past months, we have discussed how Facebook and Instagram have ripped-off features from Snapchat and added them to their apps. While there have been no lawsuits (And I don’t think Snapchat can sue Facebook Inc.) These added features have helped Facebook in increasing the user count a lot. Today, WhatsApp –a Facebook-owned company- joines the traditions of copying features of Snapchat.

From the latest update of the app, users will now be able to set Images, GIFs, and Videos as their ‘status.’ The feature was in beta test for some time, but now it is being rolled out to all users including ones on Windows Phone.

The new multimedia Status feature is an awful lot like the one in Instagram Stories. So much so that you can add emoji, text, and doodles on the status Images and Videos. Once the status is up, everyone in your contact list who is not excluded specifically will be able to see and reply to the status within the app.

Even more interestingly, the Status updates will expire after 24 hours, yup, Just like ones on Snapchat.

With the new status updates, WhatsApp is also trying to return to its root. Back when the app was launched, WhatsApp did not have any messaging ability, in fact, it was only about setting up status so that all of your contacts can know what you are upto.

You can find the new find the new feature in the Status tab inside WhatsApp app on your phone. If you can’t find it, make sure that the app is updated to the latest version from App Store, Google Play or Windows Store according to your device.

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WhatsApp May Soon Let You Reply To Statuses, With Option to Mute Them Too

WhatsApp’s status message option is set for a major revamp soon as hints are being dropped from the apps beta version across various platforms. Now the beta version for the Windows phone shows significant changes and improvements in the functionality of the status section.

A new leak has surfaced that shows that the user might be able to mute and unmute status notifications for specified contacts and also be able to view the list of muted users. The new status message feature of the Facebook-owned company Whatsapp will let you reply to a person’s status message, a feature that seems to be borrowed from Snapchat.

WhatsApp Status Alerts and Mute Option

WABetaInfo, a WhatsApp beta watcher, shared screenshots of WhatsApp beta for Windows Phone 2.17.40+ that had buttons to mute and unmute status alerts. A new Status section is expected to arrive, and once you have muted a contact, their status notifications won’t come up. You also won’t get push notification for these users, when they change their statuses.

This feature will also come with an unmute option that will let you change your decision whenever you want. You can just go to the mute list and unmute the contact you wish to.

Status Message Replies

The informer also states that we will be able to respond to status messages as well and have a conversation about it, just like on Snapchat Stories. This new feature is seen in WhatsApp beta for Windows Phone 2.17.44+ version. The mute features were seen on WhatsApp beta for Android 2.17.46 version as well.

 

The new Whatsapp Status feature has been seen on various Android and iOS beta versions as well. The new features are essentially to notify the users when their contacts change their statues. However, there are many improvements expected to come in the Status Message feature of Whatsapp, such as push notifications or the ability to change status within 24 hours. The WhatsApp Android version is expected to get a separate tab for statuses, joining the existing chats, calls, and contacts tab.

WhatsApp Android Beta Brings Dozens of Cool New Emoji For Everyone

The more, the merrier, right?

WhatsApp’s latest beta release for Android has added dozens of new emoji for users across all Android versions. Some of the important ones are a clown, bacon, a butterfly, a glass of whiskey and probably the emoji you have been waiting for years: a boy and girl doing a facepalm.

These emoji are a part of Unicode 9.0. Emoji in this Unicode version will be included in Android 7.1 and iOS 10.2. While a lot of users will get a free upgrade to iOS’s latest release, there is a very good chance that most Android users won’t be upgraded to Android 7.1.

To deal with this inconsistency, WhatsApp uses its own Emoji system and if all users running the latest version of WhatsApp will get all Emoji’s no matter what platform they are on,

WhatsApp has been adding many cool new features since last few months, including future support for revoking sent messages, But I am more excited about sending a facepalm to a friend when he says something stupid.

The new emoji are only available for beta users, you can join the beta program from Play Store, or you can always install the version 2.17.44  APK manually. The rollout for all users should be soon.

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WhatsApp Might Soon Let You Delete or Edit Messages After Sending Them

Ever wished you could unsend a message on WhatsApp or edit it? If yes, it looks like WhatsApp might let you do that soon.

WhatsApp had been testing new features on iPhone beta version that let you revoke or edit messages that you have already sent to your contact. As  WABetaInfo reports, it seems that the company is testing the same for Android.

The edit and recall/revoke message has reportedly appeared on the newest beta version of WhatsApp for Android, however. It is disabled by default. A rooted phone is needed to enable these features manually.

It should be kept in mind that while the sources of the news are reliable enough, there is no word yet from WhatsApp Inc about when it will be available for general users.

The company has been adding new features to the app, recently, after announcing that WhatsApp will no longer work on old devices, the company has redesigned the app’s storage usage screen and added the ability to queue messages on iPhone version of the app.

READ NEXT: 5 Tips to make WhatsApp more private.

WhatsApp Will No Longer Work On Old Android Phones and iPhones

One of the most popular messaging apps WhatsApp will no longer work for old Android, iPhones or Windows Phone Devices.

As the company announced on its blog last year, the company is ending support for some old operating systems and devices. Users with devices running Android 2.1, Android 2.2, Windows Phone 7 or iPhone 3GS can no longer use the messaging app.

Market share of these operating systems in quite small actually. Devices running Android 2.2 Froyo are less than 0.1%, and only 2.6% of iPhones are running iOS 6. The iPhone 3GS itself is a seven-year-old device and is no longer sold by Apple.

WhatApp is advising that users running discontinued phones can either update phone’s Operating System or buy a newer phone if they want to continue using the service. If not, all messages can be exported to an Email from the app.

The Facebook-owned company initially said that with the above devices, all BlackBerry devices, Nokia S40 Devices and Nokia S60 devices will also be discontinued, but it won’t be happening until 30 June 2017.

Discontinuing older devices is likely to increase development speed and encryption support for the services. Also, since all the discontinued devices account for less than 0.5 percent of smartphone market, the very little amount of users will be affected by the decision.

READ NEXT: 5 tips to keep your WhatsApp messages private.

5 Tips To Make WhatsApp More Private and Secure

You might want to know about how you can make sure that your conversations are safe. Here are 6 WhatsApp privacy tips to make texting more secure.

While SMS was once the most used way to send text messages, it won’t be wrong to say that WhatsApp has taken that crown now. The App easy enough that your grandmother can use it and the price tag of $0 makes it much more appealing that sending SMSes. If you use the  messaging app, you might want to know about how you can make sure that your conversations are safe. Here are 5 WhatsApp privacy tips to make texting more secure.

Lock WhatsApp using a Pattern or Password

Probably the best way of stopping someone from opening WhatsApp is to lock it with a PIN, Password or Pattern lock. WhatsApp does not have any built-in app locking available, but getting it on Android is quite easy.

Some Android Phones have built in option to lock apps in App Drawer (the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 is a good example) However, if your phone does not have one, you can use AppLock to protect your WhatsApp chats.

Hide WhatsApp from App Drawer

If you don’t want anyone to know that you WhatsApp, a good way to do it is by hiding the icon completely from the App drawer of your Android Phone.

Again, some phones have built in options to hide apps from App Drawers, if your phone does not have one, you can install a custom launcher from Google Play Store. Apex Launcher, Evie Launcher, Smart Launcher 3 and ASAP Launcher are some of the best custom launchers that come with App hiding features.

Hide Last Seen Timestamp from others

By default, other contacts on WhatsApp can see the last time you were online in the app. If you don’t want anyone to know, you can turn off the Last seen timestamp.

Keep in mind that if you disable your Last seen status on WhatsApp, you will not be able to anyone’s Last seen too.

To Hide your Last Seen on WhatsApp on Android or iOS do the following:

  • Open WhatsApp and click on the three dots on the top right corner to open the menu.
  • Tap on Settings > Account and then select Privacy.
  • Under Last seen choose Nobody.
hide last seen on whatsapp
Hiding Last seen on Whatsapp

Stop sending read receipts

With some recent updates, you can now see a double blue check mark in  WhatsApp texts and Images, these indicate that your contact has seen the sent message. As convenient it may be for some people, if you don’t what others to know that you have read their message and you have still not replied, you can turn off these Read receipts too.

The catch? similarly to Last seen, you won’t be able to see others read receipts too.

To turn off read receipts in WhatsApp go to Settings > Account > Privacy and check off the Read Receipts under Messaging section.

Stop Read receipts on WhatsApp
Stop Read receipts on WhatsApp

Keep in mind that you can’t turn off Read receipts for Group Chats

Stop WhatsApp photos from appearing in Gallery

Now that you have protected WhatsApp with a password or pattern,  you will also like to stop anyone from seeing  your WhatsApp images in Gallery. If you are on iOS, you can do it with just a few taps. However, if you are on Android, it is a bit complicated than iOS
On iOS, Go to phone’s Settings > Privacy > Photos and then deselect WhatsApp from the list of apps whose images are saved into the Gallery.
On your Android phone,  You will need a file manager, if you don’t have one on your phone, ES File Manager is good enough and it is free.
Open the file manager and then navigate to Internal storage. Now go to WhatsApp > Media> WhatsApp Images and WhatsApp Videos folder. Then create a file within each folder called ‘.nomedia’. This will stop Android’s Gallery from scanning these folders.

Lost your Phone? Deactivate WhatsApp

At one time, WhatsApp can only use one mobile number. You can use it to stop anyone from accessing your WhatsApp if you have lost your phone.If you have lost your phone, you can

Just get a duplicate SIM with the same number ( in India, you may need to submit a copy of FIR to your mobile career to get a replacement SIM)  and activate WhatsApp from the new SIM card. WhatsApp on your lost phone will stop working immediately.

Do you have any other WhatsApp privacy tips ?

Apart from the above, do you have any other WhatsApp privacy tips that other readers should know about? Share with us in the comments below.