WhatsApp is quietly adding a new feature to its Android app, expanding users’ ability to re-download deleted media files.
Even if users remove the photos, GIFs, or videos from their on-board storage or SD cards, they will be able to go back and grab the media files from within chats.
While this may seem like a handy tool to helps users maintain access to media without the need to store files locally, there is something slightly troubling about the situation.
It confirms the Facebook-owned company is users storing images on its servers long after they may have been deleted.
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WABetaInfo has the skinny. It points out that users are currently able to re-download media 30 days after deleting it from their phones. After the re-download, the company immediately has been deleting the images from its servers.
However, within the latest beta, it appears that images from several months ago will be available to re-download. The site was able to acquire media from as far back as three months ago.
It doesn’t appear the media will be available indefinitely. When going back to images sent in August 2017, WhatsApp told the beta user to request the image again from the original sender.
The media files remain end-to-end encrypted so it would appear, on the surface, there’s not a lot to worry about here.
However, following the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, many users are becoming more guarded about the information held by Facebook and its offshoot companies.
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