When a text can trigger a lynching: WhatsApp struggles with incendiary messages in India
In October, WhatsApp rolled-out the functionality of allowing users to delete sent messages within a stipulated period. Though the feature was widely appreciated by many it was also equally hated by some.
Aside from its popularity (or rather the lack of it), some app developers saw an opportunity and have developed an app that lets you retrieve and read deleted messages, including media messages like photos and voice recordings.
WhatsRemoved, though is simple to use, it can at the very least be called questionable as it infringes upon the privacy and choices of a sender.
The Android app would seek your permission to read and save the notifications on your device and basically record every message WhatsApp receives. The app would then notify you the moment a sender deletes a message.
The creators state that they do not use the recorded messages “for commercial purposes of any kind”. The app has three installation settings allowing users to choose either to detect all deleted messages including the media files, or detect just the messages or detect deleted messages without recording the name of the sender.
There are a few conditions for the app to work. The app does not work in muted conversations, without an Internet connection and when WhatsApp is closed. Moreover, the app does not work if the message has been deleted very fast or battery saver is on. Basically, your phone needs to receive a notification for the app to work.
Though there are numerous ways a deleted WhatsApp message can be seen, they require technical know-how. Moreover, none of them can retrieve images or voice recordings.
The app undermines an important function for which WhatsApp introduced the delete message feature. The feature was meant to avoid misunderstandings and provide some privacy.
The only downside is that WhatsRemoved records and stores all messages including what a sender did not want you to see.
Though it might not be illegal to use the app, one needs to channel their own Devil's Advocate to side with what is ethical.