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WhatsApp Brings Back Text-Only Status Message After 'Status' Backlash

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The reactions were so swift and fierce, it would have made a good status update.

WhatsApp is bringing back its text-only status message feature after a massive backlash from users when the company removed it in favor of its new "Status" feature. In February, WhatsApp rolled out "Status," which allowed users to post photos and videos as their status update instead of the usual text. Critics called it a Snapchat Stories copycat.

WhatsApp will bring back the text feature, but will retain the photo-and-video options of Status.

WhatsApp Status, A Snapchat Stories Clone

In February, to celebrate its eighth anniversary, WhatsApp introduced Status, a reinvented version of its text-only status update feature. It was kind of a going-back-to-roots move for WhatsApp, as the messenger started out as an updater "that lets your friends and other contacts know what you're up to." Then it added the messaging feature while keeping this old "text only" status functionality.

With the introduction of Status, users can now use photos and videos using the in-app camera as the new status update. Their contacts can see their new status updates, which will appear up to 24 hours only. Also, WhatsApp prides itself on its safety and security, so end-to-end encryption ensures that status updates shared are safe and secure.

However, long-time users did not like the disappearance of the text status update. So in order to appease its more than 1 billion users, WhatsApp quietly brought back the text feature in the Android Beta version of the app, appearing in the About section of a user's profile. Users can open their About section to set their text status and view other users' text status by opening their contact info.

Same Old 'Stories'

The WhatsApp Status was quickly met with strong reactions in another aspect. Users and critics decried it as another Snapchat Stories clone, barely a year after Facebook introduced its Instagram Stories for photo-sharing app Instagram. Facebook owns both WhatsApp and Instagram, so this move did not come as surprising.

Interestingly, Facebook Messenger also launched Messenger Day, an in-app feature that lets users - yes, you guessed it - update their contacts. But instead of telling people what you have done/felt/thought, Messenger Day is a bit more practical. It has a "Who's Up For" filter that lets you find online friends to invite or hang out with.

But Facebook is not done yet. To complete its Stories offensive, Facebook is launching Facebook Stories, which will roll out this month in select countries like Chile, Vietnam, and Greece. The feature was first tested in Ireland in January as part of Facebook's move to snag Snapchat's mobile prowess.

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