Meta-owned messaging giant WhatsApp has launched a new feature that allows users to put a conversation in a folder that can only be accessed with their device's password or biometric, like a fingerprint.

The Chat Lock feature on WhatsApp lets users protect most intimate conversations behind one more layer of security. The company is rolling out Chat Lock globally on WhatsApp.

"Locking a chat takes that thread out of your inbox and puts it behind its own folder that can only be accessed with your device’s password or biometric, like a fingerprint. It also automatically hides the contents of that chat in notifications, too," the messaging app says in a statement.

"New locked chats in WhatsApp make your conversations more private. They're hidden in a password protected folder and notifications won't show sender or message content," says Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO, Meta.

"We believe this feature will be great for people who share their phones from time to time with a family member, or in moments where someone else is holding your phone at the exact moment an extra-special chat arrives," the tech giant says.

"You can lock a chat by tapping the name of a one-to-one or group and selecting the lock option. To reveal these chats, slowly pull down on your inbox and enter your password or biometric," it adds.

Over the next few months, WhatsApp says it is going to be adding more options for Chat Lock, including locks for companion devices and creating a custom password for your chats so that users can use a unique password different from their phone's.

Govt to probe phone mic use in background

Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Rajeev Chandrasekhar last week called the alleged use of phone microphones in the background by messaging giant WhatsApp an unacceptable breach and violation of privacy.

The Union minister tweeted about the issue after Twitter engineer Foad Dabiri accused WhatsApp of using the microphone in the background while he was asleep.

WhatsApp, however, dismissed the claim, saying this is a bug on Android that misattributes information in their privacy dashboard. "Over the last 24 hours we've been in touch with a Twitter engineer who posted an issue with his Pixel phone and WhatsApp. We believe this is a bug on Android that mis-attributes information in their Privacy Dashboard and have asked Google to investigate and remediate," the company said.

WhatsApp claimed that users have full control over their mic settings. "Once granted permission, WhatsApp only accesses the mic when a user is making a call or recording a voice note or video - and even then, these communications are protected by end-to-end encryption so WhatsApp cannot hear them," the messaging giant said.

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