WhatsApp now hides your 'last seen' status from unknown numbers

WhatsApp now hides your ‘last seen’ status from unknown numbers

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WhatsApp group notifications
Suck it, stalkers.
Photo: WhatsApp

WhatsApp is stepping up your privacy by automatically hiding your “last seen” status from unknown numbers. The move automatically prevents other people from seeing when you were last active until you add them as a contact.

WhatsApp says the change doesn’t affect your privacy settings for friends, family, and businesses you have saved or interacted with in the past.

WhatsApp steps up privacy protections

Despite being a Facebook company, WhatsApp prides itself on being a secure messaging platform. It was one of the first to introduce end-to-end encryption for all its users at no extra cost, and it offers a bunch of handy privacy features.

It’s not unfair to say rival messaging services have overtaken WhatsApp on those fronts in recent years. But WhatsApp has been working to bolster its privacy protections. Its latest change makes your activity harder to track.

WhatsApp on both Android and iOS now (as long as you’re running the latest version of the app) hides your “last seen” status from phone numbers you have not added to your contacts by default.

It’s still possible to hide this status from people you know, but it’s now automatically concealed from numbers your handset does not recognize.

WhatsApp tracking is a thing … apparently

“This will not change anything between you and your friends, family, and businesses who you know or have previously messaged,” WhatsApp explained in an email to one user, seen by WABetaInfo.

You might be wondering why it’s so important for your “last seen” status to be hidden. Well, it seems there are a number of third-party apps designed to track WhatsApp users by checking their status to find out when they’re been active.

“People use these apps to stalk other WhatsApp users, so they know when other people were online, but this was the only information they were able to get,” WABetaInfo explains. Now they’re completely cut off.