If you’re wary about strangers being able to see things from your WhatsApp account like your last seen and online status, you’ve probably adjusted your Last Seen settings to “My Contacts”. But it’s something you have to do manually and is not on by default. The Meta-owned messaging app is now enabling a new privacy measure that will make it easier for users to keep prying eyes from their status. It will no longer display your Last Seen status to unknown contacts by default.
WABetaInfo says that some users have already noticed that they are not seeing the last seen status of some contacts and business accounts. Apparently, this is because of some improvements that WhatsApp is making “to improve the privacy and security of our users”. Basically, if you don’t know the person or you haven’t chatted with them, then you won’t be able to see their last seen and their online presence.
Previously, you had to manually change your settings to “My Contacts” if you only wanted your contacts to see those statuses. Now it is turned on by default so that those who forgot to turn it on or didn’t know that they could would still be protected. So only those you actually know, or at least are added to your contacts list, will see when you were last online or if you’re currently online. The change will not affect or change anything between your friends, family members, or businesses you actually connected with.
One of the reasons for this change is that there are apparently third-party apps that can show you the last seen and online status of contacts. And of course, some people use this to stalk other users, even though that’s the only information they are able to get. With this new setting, these apps will not be able to see the status since they don’t have an active chat with users. Hopefully that puts an end to that and they won’t find other ingenious ways to track WhatsApp users.
You don’t seem to need to do anything to “activate” this feature so you’ll have to wait for your settings to automatically change to this privacy measure. This is probably not the last we’ll hear from the messaging app as privacy and security is something they say they are prioritizing right now.