In order to strengthen the confidentiality of its users, WhatsApp is preparing to deploy a very practical new function. Everyone will soon be able to choose a nickname to identify themselves instead of using their phone number.
Fully encrypted, the famous WhatsApp messaging system is known for its security and already offers numerous options to guarantee the confidentiality of its users’ exchanges, such as ephemeral messages, the possibility of blocking screenshots for certain messages, sending ephemeral voice messages and, recently, Chat Lock mode, which allows you to hide certain conversations and lock access to them (see our article).
But on some points, WhatsApp lags behind its competitors. This is particularly the case in group discussions, where each participant is identifiable by the others thanks to their telephone number which is displayed in clear text. Therefore, you can be contacted directly by complete strangers, which is obviously not desirable. A problem that Meta could soon remedy since the specialized site WABetaInfo spotted in the beta version 220.127.116.11 of WhatsApp Business for iOS of the application the possibility for users to log in to the messaging application through their username, and no longer by their phone number . A function which had already been seen at the end of May 2023 since they could then choose a unique nickname linked to their account, a nickname which then replaces their telephone number.
WhatsApp username: a unique nickname for more confidentiality
To choose your nickname, you will need to go to the settings, then to the profile options. In addition to the photo, the name – visible to contacts –, the telephone number and the description, a new line appears. The nickname should therefore replace the telephone number in group chats – where you are identifiable to others thanks to your telephone number which is displayed in plain text, allowing complete strangers to contact you directly. Messaging is also working on a feature to add people to your contacts without having to provide or know their phone numbers (see our article).
The user name can only be composed of alphanumeric characters – az and 0-9 –, which excludes special characters. It must also be unique. Once the validation is successful, you will have the option to use this username as a means of identification within the platform. This feature should allow the app to rely less solely on the phone number to connect – which can be problematic in some countries, for activists and political opponents. However, we do not know if it will be essential to register for WhatsApp. For the moment, we still do not know its arrival date on the stable version of the messaging.