A new feature will now be witnessed on WhatsApp that allows users to send photos and videos that can only be viewed once by recipients.

This feature has previously been experienced in Snapchat, another social media app but it only has a fraction of Whatsapp’s 2 billion active users.

According to Whatsapp, this feature would be “giving users even more control over their privacy”.

However, critics have stated that such tools can be used to cover up crimes, include sexual violence against children.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) of the UK is already in a conflict with WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook over the use of encrypted messaging which means that the police cannot access Whatsapp messages even whilst crimes are being committed.

“This view once feature could put children at even greater risk by giving offenders another tool to avoid detection and erase evidence, when efforts to combat child sexual abuse are already hindered by end-to-end encryption,” Alison Trew who serves as the charity’s senior online safety officer said.

Whatsapp is marketing this new feature as an extension of the privacy the app offers. The company said it could be used for personal photos, or even sending someone a password.

“Not everything we share needs to become a permanent digital record. On many phones, simply taking a photo means it will take up space in your camera roll forever.”

Whatsapp users will find out if a message is “view once” because the image/video will be hidden and a large “1” icon will be shown.

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