WhatsApp, the commonly used messaging app owned by Facebook has introduced a new status update feature to its app. The new status feature allows users to share photos, Videos or GIFs overlaid with emojis, drawings and a caption that shall be visible for 24 hours as a status update before disappearing. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then WhatsApp just flattered the hell out of Snapchat which has a similar feature called stories. The new update is now available for all iOS, windows Smartphone and Android users.

Updating your status is easy, all you need to do is head to the status tab and tap on “my status” and it will get to open the Camera. Long press to record a video or edit it to become a GIF or take a normal picture and send it to your status. The cool thing is that you will be able to control who sees your status update. There are three options available to choose from namely; “my contacts,” contacts except” and “only share with” for all your status updates.

For iOS users you can access this on the privacy option located at the top right of your screen, Android can check the privacy option in settings by tapping on the three dots in the WhatsApp homepage.

It is also possible to reply to a status update posted by someone by clicking on the reply button and commenting on the video, GIF or photo posted. It is however not clear whether the reply will also disappear after 42hours.

The move is seen as a potential way of giving advertisers and businesses a platform to reach over a billion users of the app by sending messages discreetly. This is a major shift for WhatsApp that has fundamentally been synonymous with typing and reading messages among users. Not the endless scrolling through loads of content from other people.

The new update has already received a lot of criticism from users who feel that it is unnecessary as it takes away the privacy that WhatsApp has been known for in the messaging world. What remains to be seen is how the company will respond to the criticism and its future growth in the advertising industry.

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Oliver is the editor and founder of Tech Guy. Oliver is a digital media Entreprenuer. He's also a SEM Specialist at RNW Media and writes for magazines and websites like CIO East Africa.