2.78 billion users spanning over 180 countries rely on WhatsApp for uninterrupted communication.
Increasingly, businesses have also adopted the mobile messenger to keep their prospects engaged, promote their services, and offer customer support.
Meta, the owner of WhatsApp, has done its best to make the platform as versatile and valuable as possible for the multitude of reasons people use the app.
2023 was a particularly eventful year when it came to feature launches, with the company addressing a whole host of customer pain points.
Consequently, the app has been shaped into a powerhouse of secure and efficient communication functionalities.
Features for streamlined, uninterrupted communication
WhatsApp’s most impactful changes have been reserved for making communication and file sharing smoother and quicker on the platform.
- Companion mode: WhatsApp users can now use their account across 4 different devices by syncing their chats. As long as you have the app downloaded on your new device, you can choose to link it to an existing account by scanning a QR code on the original device while launching the app instead of registering with a new mobile number.
- Dedicated video recording: Previously, recording videos via WhatsApp meant that users had to go to the camera section and hold down the shutter button for the duration of the recording. But the mobile messenger rectified the issue with a new button for starting and stopping video recording.
- Sending media in full resolution: WhatsApp videos and photos can now be shared in their original resolution by selecting the HD icon while attaching them.
- Sharing voice status: In addition to sharing text, videos, and links as Status updates, users now have the option of recording audio and making it available for the listening pleasure of their contacts.
Owing to 2023 updates, WhatsApp users can significantly cut down on the time they used to spend on certain mundane activities.
- Search by sent date: Navigating WhatsApp’s text message archive of older exchanges that users had via individual or group chat got way easier. Users now have access to a Calendar icon when they try to search for older messages based on keywords that they can use to filter out communication from specific days.
- Pin messages and chats: Using this feature, you can pin up to three conversations at the top of your chat for quick and convenient access. Notably, you can even pin messages within a chat, meaning you never have to search endlessly for crucial information.
- Link preview for status: Now, you no longer have to click on links in peoples’ status to see what it is; WhatsApp shows a preview of the link as an image so you can choose whether or not you want to click it.
Security and privacy-focused features
WhatsApp users send over 100 billion messages a day, and often they unhesitatingly share sensitive files and messages over the app. So, in 2023, WhatsApp launched a slew of features that are supposed to work along with their end-to-end encryption to offer maximum security and privacy.
- Chat lock: With this feature, WhatsApp users can lock individual chats with potentially sensitive information in a separate folder and ensure they can only be accessed via facial recognition, passcode, or fingerprint.
- Silence unknown numbers: The feature, which can be accessed in the Privacy Settings, can help users avoid disruptive phone calls from unknown numbers. The missed calls will still appear in the call log, but the user won’t be notified via vibration or ringing.
- Protect IP address: Using the feature, WhatsApp allows users to hide their IP address while calling unknown numbers, adding an extra layer of privacy.
- Edit messages: In a move that seemed to be straight out of Telegram’s playbook for ultimate user privacy, WhatsApp in 2023 began allowing users to edit messages. The messages can be edited within 15 minutes of sending, and the altered messages will have a tag notifying that an edit has taken place.
Enterprise messaging-focused features
WhatsApp is used by over 50 million companies for marketing purposes alone. The number is much higher when considering the businesses that use it for customer support, sales calls, employee communication, etc., so they have been aggressively launching features catered to the enterprise user.
- Screen sharing: Keeping in line with other business communication apps, such as WeChat, Zoom, Meet, etc., WhatsApp also began allowing users since 2023 to share screens for meetings. With the functionality, users can present what is on their screen to a wider audience through video calls.
- WhatsApp Channels: The feature allows businesses to create a Channel for the one-way broadcasting of information in the form of text, videos, images, etc., to followers. Using the feature, businesses can expect a wider reach and a cost-effective way to constantly keep themselves relevant in the minds of their prospects and customers.
- Flows: The powerful capability equips businesses to deliver “rich menus and customizable forms”, meaning they can offer customers an interactive experience for doing things like booking appointments, ordering food/ items from an e-commerce platform, making payments, etc., all while staying on a single app. As part of the same batch of updates, WhatsApp enabled users to access multiple payment options, including debit cards and credit cards to make the payment process as simple as sending a message.
- Meta Verified Businesses: As part of the update, WhatsApp began allowing businesses to get a verification badge along with superior account support. Crucially, verified businesses are set to receive capabilities, such as the ability to set up a custom WhatsApp page that pops up in web searches and multi-device support so multiple employees can simultaneously provide customer support.
The elephant in the room—Archiving and regulatory compliance
While most of the features WhatsApp launched over the last year have been met with appreciation from industry leaders, compliance teams still have to contend with the glaring reality that the app on its own isn’t capable of meeting communication compliance and archiving requirements from regulators.
The unabashed and unsupervised use of WhatsApp and other similar apps by executives, especially in heavily regulated industries, like finance and IT, and public office, has on many occasions been the focal point of regulator-led investigations and lawsuits. Case in point, the WhatsApp fines slapped on major Wall Street firms amounted to billions of dollars in penalties and untold reputational damage.
As a result, companies can’t afford to take WhatsApp compliance lightly, especially when regulators have gone as far as to warn firms that emojis sent on a mobile messenger can trigger customer complaints.
To stay a step ahead of regulators, the judiciary, and legislators by safeguarding employee communication for the required retention period in an easily accessible manner, businesses need an archiver that can deliver when it comes to the regulatory requirement of WhatsApp call recording and WhatsApp archiving of messages, files, and media. Most importantly, they need an archiver like TeleMessage that can capture messages at the source via the network, irrespective of the device, messaging application, or operating system, and preserve it in a tamper-proof manner.
To get started on your compliance journey, contact us for a demo.