By this stage, you’ve probably figured out you can turn off read receipts on WhatsApp if you’d rather live in ignorance than know for a fact that someone’s hiding from your messages.
However, if you’re on the other end of things, dodging people by not even opening messages, you might think you’ve been able to get away with it.
Not any more, though, as a new third-party app is able to determine not only whether someone has been online since receiving a message, but exactly when and how many times.
Whether you’re a fan of this might depend on whether you’re the spy or the one being spied on, but many will consider it concerning from a surveillance point of view.
TheNextWeb reports that Chatwatch, which claims to be available from the iOS App Store, can effectively let people get a feel for when their friends wake up and go to sleep, based on their WhatsApp habits.
You might think that’s the natural conclusion of us spending all our time online and on our phones, but there’s a more intrusive element that we hadn’t considered.
The app allows people to check when their contacts have been online, based on WhatsApp’s own online/offline data feature, and that includes comparing multiple accounts if they suspect you’ve been talking to a specific other person while ignoring them.
Scary? A little bit, yeah, especially considering TheNextWeb’s note that the system might work even if you have the ‘Last Seen’ feature disabled.
“Compare chat patterns between people you know, and we will tell you the probability of them talking to each other during the day, using Artificial Intelligence,” Chatwatch’s blurb reads.
This takes place through the app’s ‘chat probability’ feature, which claims to be able to tell you exactly when [two specific people] were online at the same time, and how likely it is that they had a conversation during that time.
Still, if you’re using something like this to follow up on suspicions about a friend or partner, we’re not sure using AI to try to spy on them will work wonders for any trust issues between you.