Thursday, October 19, 2023
WhatsApp has introduced a significant change that allows users to have two accounts on the same phone, a feature that has been highly requested for years.
While this change is aimed at simplifying the user experience for those who have both personal and work phones, there are concerns that it could facilitate dishonesty in relationships.
Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of WhatsApp, announced this development, ending the inconvenience of logging in and out or carrying two separate phones.
To use this feature, a smartphone must be capable of accepting more than one SIM card or an eSIM, which allows two phone numbers to run from a single device without physical SIM cards. eSIMs are added virtually to the handset by network providers who support this technology.
For travellers, eSIMs offer flexibility as they can obtain a second SIM plan from a local provider, avoiding the high costs of using their main SIM abroad or the need to purchase a new SIM upon arrival. However, eSIM technology is not widely known among consumers.
While Apple has made eSIMs the standard for U.S. iPhone handsets, the rest of the world typically uses a "dual" setup, allowing both a traditional SIM card and an eSIM to be active simultaneously. WhatsApp's move may raise awareness of and encourage the use of eSIMs.
Additionally, this change may discourage people from downloading unauthorised WhatsApp-like apps, which are prohibited. Meta, the owner of WhatsApp, emphasised the importance of using the official WhatsApp to ensure message security and privacy.
It's worth noting that this feature, known as WhatsApp Multiple Accounts, is currently available for Android devices only.
While many see this as a welcome development, some are concerned about the potential misuse of this feature, particularly in relationships.
There are worries that this change could make it easier for individuals to maintain separate WhatsApp accounts for different purposes, such as personal and clandestine communication.
As with most new features, the impact of this change on user behaviour remains to be seen. WhatsApp has encouraged users to use this feature responsibly and avoid downloading unofficial versions of the app to ensure the security and privacy of their messages.