New privacy controls for WhatsApp will let you hide your 'Last Seen' status
Most messaging clients these days will let you see your friends' statuses and other details, such as when they were last logged in to the app and your current status. However, some users may not want all these details visible to everyone. WhatsApp is now making changes to their privacy controls so that you can set who can and can't see your profile.
These new privacy tools being developed were first spotted on WABetaInfo and will allow users to set who within their contacts can see parts of your profile. At the moment, your 'Last Seen,' 'Profile Picture,' and 'About' info can be set so that everyone or no one sees it. There is no way to customize these settings within the app. This is quite restrictive, especially when you compare it to other messaging apps such as Signal. This can also be a privacy issue for some, as you may not want your status to be visible to everyone, such as your boss, work colleagues, or even certain family members.
WhatsApp is working to lift these limitations by letting users decide who can see their information in their contacts. This feature will allow the user to exclude specific contacts from seeing their status. This means you'll be able to hide your 'Last Seen' and other info from selected contacts without having to disable it for everyone.
Setting this feature is a two-way street. Once you've set it so that specific contacts can no longer see your status, it will also hide their info from you. When it comes to a matter of privacy, that is how it should be.
The feature was first spotted in WhatsApp beta on iOS, but Android users with WhatsApp beta should also start seeing this feature soon enough. Having this feature available will make a big difference in users' privacy. 'Last Seen' can be useful between close family and friends, but it also opens up a channel for abuse.
It is refreshing to see WhatsApp actively taking an interest in their users' privacy and finally adding more features that will allow users to customize who can see their personal information and profiles. I look forward to seeing how this feature will work once it is released on Android.