Third party apps that are available from Google Play Store on Android and Apple App Store on iOS allow access to data through the app to record the status of ‘online’ and the ‘Last Seen’ date.
WhatsApp is the most frequently used messaging app for quite a long period of. While it offers plenty of benefits to the user, it has several options that could be abused by stalkers and malicious actors. The ‘Last Sighted’ status as well as the ‘Online’ one are exploited by a few third-party applications to monitor internet activity of users.
Users may have noticed that they’re not able see the status of ‘Online’ as well as the status ‘Last Seen’ of users with whom they haven’t had a conversation with previously. Based on a study from WABetaInfo which is a website that monitors Facebook’s beta features the instant messaging app has added new features to block third party apps from accessing time logs.
What can the ‘Last Seen” or ‘Online’ status be used for stalking?
Third party apps such as Google Play Store on Android and Apple App Store on iOS are able to access information from the app to track online status and ‘Last Seen’ times. WhatsApp has recently introduced security measures to prevent these apps from gaining access to such data.
Even if the ‘Last Viewed status is present across both platforms, the users will not be able view it until there’s been a chat record. The status on the internet will not appear. The app is confident that this change won’t cause any problems in conversations with family members, friends and companies who have communicated via the app.
Responding to a concern, WhatsApp Support responded, “To improve the privacy and security of our users We’re making it difficult for those you don’t know who you haven’t had a chat with to see your last appearance and your online profile on WhatsApp.
This won’t change the relationship between you and your relatives, friends, and companies you know or previously communicated with.”
If you’re not able to access the Online or Last seen status of your contact, they have or has shut down sharing their status information to everyone, or allowed only certain users to access their data.