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WhatsApp adds new status features, hoping you’ll use them

WhatsApp adds new status features, hoping you’ll use them


Emoji reactions, voice statuses, and more.

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WhatsApp logo on a green, black, and white background
Illustration: The Verge

Meta is adding several new features to WhatsApp status, which lets you post disappearing pictures and other media. Once the features roll out over the coming weeks, you’ll be able to react to people’s posts with an emoji, limit who can see your status, and post voice messages.

According to an announcement post, the status emoji reactions work similar to how they do on Instagram; when you swipe up on the post, you get the option to choose from one of eight emoji. (The options are 😍,😂,😮,😥,🙏,👏,🎉, and 💯.)

While a WhatsApp blog post calls emoji reactions the No. 1 requested feature after it launched the ability to react to messages last year, I personally feel like the Private Audience Selector is the most useful addition announced today. The feature lets you change who can see your statuses, with the option to show it to everyone, hide it from certain contacts, or only show it to specific people. According to Meta, the options you pick will be the default for the next status you post, but you’ll be able to change it without changing the visibility of past statuses.

Screenshot of the private audience selector.
The Private Audience Selector is similar to Instagram’s Close Friends list, Snapchat’s Private Stories, or Twitter’s Circles.
Image: WhatsApp

Other features are small quality-of-life improvements. Statuses that include links will also be more visually appealing — Meta says there’ll now be previews for the site or page that the link will take you to. WhatsApp is also trying to make it clearer when people post a status by adding a ring around their profile picture in the chat lists, group participant lists, and contact info screens.

These all seem like good additions to the status feature, but I do wonder how many people will use them. Some of my colleagues who use WhatsApp say they’ve never seen anybody post a status, and I’ve definitely heard more people reference competing products like Stories on Snapchat or Instagram (though it’s worth noting that I live in the US, where WhatsApp doesn’t have a massive hold). If you’re a WhatsApp user, sound off in the comments if you or your friends are big fans of statuses — or if Tuesday’s announcement might entice you to give them a try.