WhatsApp has announced an editing feature to allow users to alter messages up to 15 minutes after they have been sent.
The Meta-owned messaging service has started rolling out the editing function globally and it should become available to all users in the coming weeks, the platform said in a blogpost.
Messages that have been edited will have an “edited” notification displayed alongside them, although the edit history will not be shown so a user cannot view what the post said before it was altered.
The feature can be activated by pressing down on a message and selecting “edit” from the pop-up menu that appears.
Previously, the only way to correct a message sent in haste or containing an error was to delete it and send a fresh one, with recipients alerted to the fact by the removed post being replaced with the phrase: “This message was deleted.”
“From correcting a simple misspelling to adding extra context to a message, we’re excited to bring you more control over your chats. All you need to do is long-press on a sent message and choose ‘Edit’ from the menu for up to 15 minutes after,” said WhatsApp.
Competing apps such as Telegram and Signal already allow users to edit messages, while Twitter rolled out the ability to edit tweets to select users last year. Twitter offers an editing feature to subscribers to its Twitter Blue service, giving them a 30-minute window to edit a tweet after it has been sent.
Meta’s founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, flagged the WhatsApp change on his Facebook page, showing a message that had been changed from “Beast of luck!” to “Best of luck!”
Facebook, also owned by Meta, started to roll out the ability to edit posts and comments about a decade ago. Its fellow Meta social media platform Instagram allows users to edit posts but not comments.
Meta is embroiled in a dispute with the UK government about its best-known feature: end-to-end encryption, which ensures only the receiver and sender can view messages.
Last month, WhatsApp and Signal signed an open letter warning the online safety bill could undermine the UK’s privacy and safety, saying the legislation “provides no explicit protection for encryption” because it could empower the communications regulator to demand tech firms weaken encryption systems in order to tackle terrorism or child sexual abuse content.