WhatsApp users will soon be able to lock and hide conversations, thanks to a new feature.
Chat Lock will remove a chat thread from the app’s regular onscreen inbox and place it into a new folder that can only be opened by a password or biometric, such as facial recognition or a fingerprint.
Calling it “one more layer of security”, Meta – WhatsApp’s parent company – added Chat Lock to protect “your most intimate conversations” and hide notifications from them.
It’s the latest in a list of growing features on the globally-used, encrypted messaging service which puts it at odds with the UK government’s online safety bill.
As part of its privacy package, Meta allows WhatsApp users to encrypt their backups, block the ability to screenshot and make their messages disappear automatically.
Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive officer, confirmed the new feature in a Facebook post.
He said: “New locked chats in WhatsApp make your conversations more private. They’re hidden in a password protected folder and notifications won’t show sender or message content.”
Meta has criticized the Online Safety Bill, along with other companies.
It says the law change would undermine end-to-end encryption – a level of security for messages which means nobody other than the users involved in the conversation is able to see its content.