WhatsApp moderation feature that allows group admins to delete messages for all detected users

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta January 27, 2022
Updated 2022/01/27 at 7:08 AM

WhatsApp is working on a feature to allow group admins to delete messages for any user in the group, as detected by a resource tracker. The world’s most used messaging service is said to be developing a moderation feature that is supported in rival messaging service Telegram, which also allows admins to remove messages from group members. WhatsApp has yet to announce details of such a feature, which is expected to arrive in the upcoming beta versions of WhatsApp for Android and iOS.

According to a screenshot shared by WhatsApp resource tracker WABetaInfo, the Meta-owned messaging service is working on a feature to allow group admins to delete messages from any group member. The screenshot shows a deleted message in a WhatsApp chat, with a placeholder message that says “This has been deleted by an admin, WABetaInfo” to inform group members that a message has been removed. WhatsApp rival Telegram also allows group admins to delete messages from any user – but it doesn’t display a placeholder message.

The upcoming ability to delete all messages can serve as a powerful moderation tool in WhatsApp groups, especially to curb instances of fake news or harmful content in the messaging service. The Bombay High Court and Madras High Court had previously declared that WhatsApp group administrators were not responsible for objectionable content posted to a group. Last year, the Bombay High Court noted that group admins had only limited powers to add or delete group members and do not have the power to regulate or censor content posted to the group.

There is currently no information on whether group admins will be able to delete older messages in a group. Currently, users can delete your own messages in chats or groups in 4,096 seconds — one hour, eight minutes and 16 seconds. However, WhatsApp may expand the limits to delete messages in a group for admins, allowing them to handle older messages posted by users in a group. As mentioned earlier, WhatsApp has yet to officially reveal plans to add this feature to the messaging app.

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