In a significant shift, WhatsApp is said to be working on the introduction of usernames to its platform. Historically, the widely-used messaging app has required users to sign up with their phone numbers, making it their sole form of identification. The impending change could be integral in providing greater privacy for its users, particularly in group chat settings.
According to a report from WABetaInfo, the development of the username feature emerged in the latest beta version of the app. The report outlined that the new username section would be visible within the Profile page in the app's Settings, providing a potential future addition.
WhatsApp's main rival, Telegram, has already proven that the introduction of usernames can enhance user privacy. In the case of Telegram, users are granted the option to display their usernames instead of their contact details. A notable move in 2021 saw Telegram hold premium username auctions based on the TON blockchain, raising the question of how WhatsApp will handle premium username claims and their protection going forward.
Presently, users of WhatsApp can see each other's phone numbers when part of group chats and communities. With the rollout of the username feature, the app is anticipated to allow users to hide their phone numbers from others who aren't part of their contact book. Thus, offering a heightened layer of privacy
The username feature comes on the heels of WhatsApp introducing a biometric and password-protected privacy feature, which enables individuals to hide and lock specific conversations from prying eyes. The continued development of privacy enhancements is an indication of the company's commitment to improving user experience and protection.
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