WhatsApp’s Read Receipt Blunder (And Update)

November 20, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

Isn’t if funny how the smallest things can lead to enormous problems? WhatsApp found this out the hard way when they rolled out a new feature that let users see if and when their text messages were received and whether or not they were read. While it seems like it would be a helpful thing to know in many cases, in other cases it led to frustration, sunken hearts and even paranoia.

Some people were frantically trying to figure out how to NOT let the sender see that they seen the message. If you’re at a work meeting and try to quickly (and secretly) get a glance at messages sent then the sender could easily start to think that you’re ignoring them when they see that the message was received AND read… but you didn’t reply back. In fact, it’s already being reported that it was the final straw on this couple’s marriage. Yep, ignored messages? I want a divorce! Of course they do say that there was trouble brewing already.

While millions of users love the app, are sending messages and checking WhatsApp status updates every single day, WhatsApp seemingly was at risk for losing some of their users because of this one single feature. So it didn’t take long before the uproar was heard and an update released.

You can now get the update on their official site. This new version is 2.11.444 and it allows you to set preferences for the read receipt feature. Probably the easiest way to update your WhatsApp is to visit this page on your mobile device and download it directly. As soon as it’s downloaded, just open it and follow the instructions. And don’t worry, it’s an update, not a completely new install. It won’t erase or overwrite your current contacts, subscription or chat history.

They probably should have followed the iMessage idea of allowing users to turn this feature OFF in the first place… but it’s better late than never I suppose.