WhatsApp is constantly improving the user experience with the introduction of new features and services. The popular app is the one-stop-solution for all communication needs, which has helped add a massive user base now breaching 1 billion. WhatsApp keeps adding new features to grow with the pace of the trend, but a lot of testing is involved before a public rollout.
One such feature that has been spotted in beta tests involves the app’s popular Status. According to The Verge, WhatsApp beta testers are receiving the option to share their WhatsApp Status as Facebook Stories and even share it further to other apps like Instagram, Gmail and Google Photos.
Anyone who uses WhatsApp is familiar with the Status feature, which is a separate tab hosting ephemeral statuses from various contacts. Like Instagram Stories, WhatsApp Status disappears after 24 hours and the new change would allow users to share those statuses on Facebook as Stories. While the effort seems innocent and favours convenience, users have raised concerns.
Ever since Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, it has been battling critics and privacy advocates on attempts to share WhatsApp data with Facebook. WhatsApp, at the time of the acquisition, had promised that it wouldn’t share user data with Facebook and that it would work independently and autonomously.
With the latest feature, users fear that Facebook will complete bridging its data sharing efforts with WhatsApp. But there’s little reason to worry, at least for now. The Verge reported that WhatsApp’s new feature does not link accounts on the two services.
In case you’re wondering how the cross-app status sharing is going to work, it will use the same iOS and Android data-sharing APIs, which means the data is transferred between the apps on the device. But it’s worth noting that posts shared on separate platforms will remain separate in Facebook’s systems.
WhatsApp beta testers are receiving the new feature. Currently, there is no option to share the status to other services automatically, giving users the manual control.
Besides this new feature, WhatsApp is also reported to be testing dark mode, an option to show the name of the chosen contact while forwarding multimedia and more. WhatsApp has also fought against the spread of fake news and provocative content on its platform by introducing features that limit bulk message forwards, “forwarded message” label and more.