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Viber announces ‘hidden chats’ feature

Messaging application Viber will soon allow users to hide any conversation from the main screen so no one but the user will know it exists.

The "hidden chats" feature will be available over the coming weeks to all users who have Viber 6.0, the latest update to the popular social media app.

These chats, whether one-on-one or with a group, can only be accessed using a four digit PIN, providing an additional layer of privacy to users’ personal communications.    

To activate the "hidden chats" feature, users should tap on the info screen for a particular chat.

It will then ask for a four digit PIN or, for iOS users, provide an option for a fingerprint. Users will be notified of a message in a hidden conversation without the text of the message, or who it is from, appearing on the screen.

"This is not bi-directional, meaning if one user hides the conversation, nothing will be changed on the recipient’s side," Viber said in a statement on Tuesday.

Users will also be automatically protected by end-to-end encryption in all communications on their smartphone once they have upgraded to the latest version of Viber - v6.0 or higher.

Users who are using Viber on an iPad, Android tablet or desktop will be prompted to re-connect it to their phone using a QR code.

“We take our users’ security and privacy very seriously, and it’s critical to us that they feel confident and protected when using Viber,” said Viber COO Michael Shmilov in a statement.

“Because of this, we have spent a long time working on this latest update to ensure that our users have the most sophisticated security available and maximum control over their communications. We will continue to make this an ongoing priority as digital communication evolves."   

Viber is one of the world’s leading messaging apps with more than 711 million unique users worldwide including over 23 million in the Philippines. — Virgil Lopez/DVM, GMA News