WhatsApp has just introduced several important privacy features, including the option to block online status, which it recently showed in beta, TechCrunch has reported. The goal is to eventually make WhatsApp “as private and secure as face-to-face conversations,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in Facebook post.

The new “online presence control” feature lets you send messages while appearing offline. This offers another level of privacy over the ability to hide your last seen status from specific contacts, a feature introduced earlier this year.

You can control the feature in a granular way by deciding which contacts can see your online status and which can’t. There are no restrictions and you can switch people in and out at any time. The feature will roll out to all desktop and mobile users later this month.

WhatsApp is also testing blocking screenshots for one-time viewing of messages that disappear after one view. When these messages were introduced last year, Meta said you still had to be careful, as you wouldn’t know if someone took a screenshot of them. A new feature that lets you block such screenshots is already in testing, but the company hopes to roll it out to all users “soon.”

With the latest change, you can leave leaving groups privately without sending a mass notification to everyone else that you’re gone – although group admins will still be notified. That should save some inconvenience when it hits the desktop and mobile apps, also later this month.

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