The encrypted chat app Signal is rolling out a disappearing messages feature as part of its latest update for iPhones, Android devices, and desktops. The feature allows users to set a timer—ranging from five seconds to one week—which starts ticking the moment the recipient views the incoming message.
Signal recently fought a gag order on a federal government subpoena over user data. The platform, developed by Open Whisper Systems, once received a notable endorsement from the world’s most famous whistleblower, Edward Snowden.
Here’s how the app pitched the new feature in a blog post this morning:
“Disappearing messages are a way for you and your friends to keep your message history tidy. They are a collaborative feature for conversations where all participants want to automate minimalist data hygiene, not for situations where your contact is your adversary — after all, if someone who receives a disappearing message really wants a record of it, they can always use another camera to take a photo of the screen before the message disappears.”
[Photo: Open Whisper Systems]CZ