WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, said Thursday it would introduce disappearing messages to WhatsApp, a move that increases its challenge to compete with Snapchat.
The messaging service used by more than 2 billion people around the world said it would allow people to choose whether to keep their messages or delete them after seven days.
“Today WhatsApp messages often live on our phones forever. While it’s great to preserve the memories of friends and family, most of what we send doesn’t have to last forever, “read a WhatsApp blog post.
“Our goal is to make conversations on WhatsApp feel as close to people as possible, which means they shouldn’t have to stick around forever. That is why we are pleased to introduce the option to use disappearing messages on WhatsApp. “
Facebook previously introduced a similar option for its Messenger platform, following in the footsteps of Snapchat, which has amassed a large following among young smartphone users.
WhatsApp chose a seven-day window “because we believe it offers the peace of mind of knowing that conversations are not permanent, while still being practical so that you don’t forget what you were chatting about,” the blog post says.
“The shopping list or store address you received a few days ago will be there for as long as you need it, then disappear when you don’t.”
The move comes as Facebook’s main social network loses ground to younger audiences to rivals like Snapchat and TikTok, even as Facebook-owned Instagram continues to grow in that demographic.
A Piper Jaffay poll of American teens last month showed that Snapchat is their favorite social media platform, with TikTok surpassing Instagram in second place.