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WhatsApp is making it easier to pretend you haven’t been online recently

WhatsApp is reportedly working on a feature that’ll let you hide your “Last Seen” status from specific contacts. 

Last Seen is a WhatsApp feature that allows your contacts to see when you were last using the messaging app. The feature appears when you don’t have WhatsApp open in the foreground in place of the “Online” status, letting others know how recently you last logged in. 

While seeing “last seen today at 10:00am” next to a contact’s name doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve read your message from the day before (that’s what read receipts are for), it is a pretty good indicator that they’ve seen you’ve sent a message and haven’t got around to replying yet. 

This can make things a little awkward if you’re putting off having a conversation with one contact, but want to open the app to continue chatting to another. 

A few years back WhatsApp introduced the option to limit your Last Seen visibility with three options: Everyone, My Contacts, Nobody. 

While the Nobody setting does allow users to open and close the app without letting everyone know they’re around, it also means you can’t use the feature in instances where it actually comes in handy, such as when you’re genuinely offline and want people to know that’s why you’re not responding. 

Now, WhatsApp is reportedly working on a privacy update that will allow you to choose which contacts can see your Last Seen status and which are left in the dark. 

The setting – which was first spotted by WhatsApp news site WABetaInfo – will let you customise your Last Seen status with a new “My Contacts Except…” option. This means you can specify which contacts you don’t want to be able to view when you were last online, while still making sure everyone else can see your status. 

According to the report, this feature is still under development, but it is expected to roll out to beta users in the future.

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