WhatsApp has launched a new feature that allows users to post photos and videos as status updates.
The feature on the Facebook-owned app is strikingly similar to similar "story" elements on Instagram and Snapchat.
In adding the feature, WhatsApp said it is going back to its roots.
WhatsApp started out as a way for people to let their friends know what they are up to at work or available, for example. Messaging, now the app's main function, was added later.
WhatsApp said the status posts will be end-to-end encrypted ,meaning only the parties who are communicating can see the messages and not even WhatsApp can view them.
Status updates will expire after 24 hours, with privacy settings allowing users to control who sees the status.
How to create a WhatsApp status
- Open WhatsApp and touch the 'Status' tab at the top of the screen
- Tap on the 'My status' icon, which has a green circle with a white + sign in it
- You will then be able to take a new photo, record a video or upload an existing file
- Once you've done this you can add your own drawings, as well as emojis and text
- Finally, tap the 'Send' button
In a blog post on the WhatsApp website, co-founder Jan Koum wrote: "We are excited to announce that, coinciding with WhatsApp's 8th birthday on February 24, we are reinventing the status feature.
"Starting today, we are rolling out an update to status, which allows you to share photos and videos with your friends and contacts on WhatsApp in an easy and secure way."
WhatsApp in numbers