Online statuses, which allow users to check if their intended recipients are available to read their messages, were first introduced by instant messaging systems. Later, this evolved into the “Last Seen” feature, which allows others to glimpse a private portion of your life. Most messaging applications only let you turn on and off the Last Seen feature, but WhatsApp may be looking into a way to give users more control over who can access it and who can’t.
WhatsApp has allowed users to decide who can view their Last Seen status in a more basic way for years. Users can only choose between allowing everyone to see their Last Seen status, allowing no one to see it, or allowing only Contacts to see it, in addition to their Profile and About information. There’s no room for anything in the middle, but reports have noticed signs that this may change shortly.
In addition to those three previous options, WhatsApp will include a new “My Contacts Except…” option, according to reports. The feature appears to be simple and would allow you to create a type of contact blacklist. People on this list will not be able to see it, but all others on your contact list can access your Last Seen status.
This would be helpful if you want to “hide” from some contacts but not from everyone. Of course, this option works the same as the others, and you won’t be able to see the Last Seen status of persons from whom you’ve chosen to hide your own. This new privacy tool, it appears, will also allow users to regulate the visibility of Profile Photos and Bios.
The reports showcase screenshots taken from WhatsApp on iOS. It is no proof to believe that the feature won’t be available on Android. However, the date of rollout of this feature is not yet disclosed.