Before 2014, the messages which you would send to another person on WhatsApp had shown a single-tick mark, if the message wasn’t delivered. The single-tick mark changed to grey colored double-tick mark on delivery of the message, but still, there was no way to know if the receiver has read the message. In 2014, WhatsApp launched a read recipient feature, in which the grey double-tick mark change to blue color double-tick mark, once the receiver reads the message. Also, to provide privacy to users, WhatsApp gave an option to turn off the read recipient option. On turning-off, the read-recipient option, the color of the double-ticks doesn’t change from grey to blue, even when the receiver has read the message.
Privacy is a major concern and one of the top priorities for social chatting and data exchange platforms like WhatsApp. Recent times have seen some of the unpleasant cases of WhatsApp hack, the most recent being the infamous case of Jeff Bezos’ phone hack via WhatsApp. Also, earlier this week, a Vice report indicated indexing of WhatsApp user data by Google. Though WhatsApp uses most advanced security technology, hackers still have their out!
Coming back to the read-recipient feature, which provides privacy options to users who don’t want the read-status to be known to senders. A loophole has been found in the read-recipient feature, which nullifies user privacy. Despite turning-off the read recipient feature, still, a sender can know if the receiver has read the messages or not. To confirm the read-status of the message, a sender can send another null-voice message to the receiver. In case, the receiver opens the voice note, the color of double-tick changes to blue, even if the read-recipient is turned off. This hack was discovered in March 2018 and was reported to WhatsApp.