The phone number has always been the main feature to uniquely identify a user in WhatsApp. Only those who know their number can reach another person via it. As the current beta version of the messenger shows, that may change soon, but usernames are being announced.
A new data field for unique usernames has appeared in WhatsApp beta
The WhatsApp service, which belongs to parent company Meta, appears to be in the business of entering unique usernames. Because how WABetaInfo reportedWith the recently released 18.104.22.168 beta for Android, the company added a previously hidden data field in the user profile, where users can store such a name.
So the new field appears in the user profile, which can be opened, for example, via the messenger settings and then click on your profile picture. directly below the field infamily nameYou can then choose a unique username.
The background remains uncertain
What exactly WhatsApp wants to use the new username for is still not clear. Right below the new data field, it just says that “Unique username’, which distinguishes it from the previously defined profile name. The profile name is only used as a display name in the user profile, but does not allow the user to be uniquely directed.
However, it seems clear that WhatsApp intends to catch up with competing services in terms of data protection. For example, Telegram has long offered its users the option to choose a unique name throughout the system. This allows users to contact each other without having to exchange their personal phone numbers.
In WhatsApp, on the other hand, knowing the associated phone number is still mandatory to communicate with another person via the service. A unique worldwide username will also be an important step towards greater privacy here, as it will also be possible to communicate with other users and companies without having to reveal your phone number.
It also remains questionable how the new username will eventually be organized in WhatsApp and whether it will be possible to change it later. However, the @ symbol that appears next to the data field indicates that it begins with an @, just as it does in Telegram, so it can be instantly identified as a unique username.
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