Dec 14, 2018 | Updated: 07:21 PM EDT

Good News And Not-So-Good News For WhatsApp Chat App

Dec 08, 2015 05:41 AM EST

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The good news is, WhatsApp rolled out updates for the platforms it serves. From Symbian to Windows Phone and for iOS and Android, WhatsApp has rolled out updates within the past month. This is great news for WhatsApp users across the board, with expanded emoticons based on the Unicode 8 and Unicode 7 standards.

The emoticons were first spotted on iOS 9.1 devices, and this set includes the taco, burrito, as well as LGBT-themed icons. Because of the latest update for WhatsApp, they will be available on other platforms through the app as well.

The iOS version of WhatsApp still has more advanced features, given that WhatsApp on iOS had the “Peek” and “Pop” 3D touch support back when v2.12.11 was rolled out earlier in November 2015. In any case, the cross-platform update is still a welcome upgrade for WhatsApp users.

Here are the dates when the updates rolled out, with the version number on which platform it is available, as well as the dates for the next roll out:

Android – Version 2.12.374 – 11/24/2015

iOS – Version: 2.12.12 – 11/30/2015

Blackberry – Version: 2.12.1423 – 12/3/2015

Windows Phone – Version: 2.12.212 – Undated

Symbian S60 – Version: 2.12.266 – Undated

Symbian S40 – WhatsApp 2.13.23 – Undated

All of them are available on WhatsApp’s App Download page: https://www.whatsapp.com/download/

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The not-so-good news is that reports have emerged about how WhatsApp on Android seems to block links related to its rival app, Telegram. Launched in 2013, Telegram is a chat app similar to WhatsApp. Since then, the app has enjoyed followers of around 60 million active subscribers, and around 12 billion messages sent through the app daily.

With the success of the app, the latest oddity from WhatsApp seems like a move which proves that its 2-year old rival is a threat to the 6-year old chat app. According to a report by TechCrunch, the Telegram team has complained that the company’s official Facebook page seems to have vanished “for no apparent reason.” Facebook acquired WhatsApp in October 2014.

TechCrunch is quick to point out that the possibility behind the phenomenon of Telegram links being redacted is a mere “bug” and was not intended by WhatsApp. However, the same TechCrunch article also linked a tweet from Android Developer, Jernej Virag, which suggests that WhatsApp seems to have a code that specifically targets all domains with “telegram” in the URL.

This is a speculated strategy that certainly reflects badly on WhatsApp and its parent company, Facebook, though this should not affect the user experience of the app. The only two things affected are the fact that their users won’t be able to click or share Telegram-related links, and that they may feel apprehensive about their overall privacy and security on WhatsApp. Let’s hope that they will uphold their users’ privacy and security, even if there are hints that they use underhanded moves on their competitor.

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More emojis and better enhancements will be available in spite of the shadow of the news about Telegram links being redacted. At best, WhatsApp is a chat app born in the heart of California, owned by THE social media giant that also calls California its home. Removing their rivals’ URLs shouldn’t spin off into a privacy concern. It’s doubtful that the app will turn rogue anytime soon, unless it’s broken down, taken apart, and re-uploaded to pirated app sites like what happened to WeChat. But WhatsApp will remain a trustworthy, fun, chat app that lets you see your friends’ statuses right on your contact list.

More on the WhatsApp/Telegram redacted URL issue: http://techcrunch.com/2015/12/01/whatsapp-is-blocking-links-to-rival-app-telegram-on-android/#.nejotvc:7KyR

How WhatsApp was founded: http://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2014/02/19/exclusive-inside-story-how-jan-koum-built-whatsapp-into-facebooks-new-19-billion-baby/

Telegram’s rise to fame: http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/21/telegram-now-seeing-12bn-daily-messages-up-from-1m-in-february/

Telegram’s snark on how Facebook seemed to have taken down their page: https://telegram.org/faq#facebook

WeChat got infected with malware in September: http://www.droidreport.com/beware-wechat-infected-ios-app-compiler-injected-malware-code-39-apps-including-wechat-11238

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