7 ways to avoid a ‘Baba Gloria’ moment on WhatsApp

A mobile phone user. [Courtesy]

In today’s world of screenshots, a message sent to a closed WhatsApp group might end up being broadcast to thousands of people, if not millions, like was the case of one Baba Gloria.

For the second day running, Baba Gloria has been the Number One trending topic on Twitter in Kenya, starting Tuesday.

At least 45,900 tweets had been posted about Baba Gloria as of the time of publishing this story, 40,000 more than the second-most trending topic, Oscar Sudi, an MP whose academic credentials were being questioned online.

Baba Gloria had an awkward moment in a funeral money-raising WhatsApp group, where he sent a sexually explicit sticker, triggering shock among members of the group.

It is suspected one of the group members took a screenshot of the conversations and posted it online, or shared it with a third party, who circulated the screenshot.

The Standard has established, from one of the group members, that the Baba Gloria WhatsApp screenshot is authentic.

The Baba Gloria incident comes exactly six years after another similar incident, famously known as the “Bro Ocholla moment” went viral.

In October 2015, in a friends’ WhatsApp group, Ocholla sent a suggestive romantic message, in which he was assuring his love interest that he was capable of making her “reach Cloud Nine”.

In February 2017, WhatsApp introduced a “delete for everyone” feature to allow users who gaffe in WhatsApp groups to be able to “correct their wrongs”.

How can you avert a Baba Gloria or Bro Ocholla moment?

Re-read/confirm before sending

Concentration can be interrupted; it is normal for humans. However, when engaging in sexually suggestive chats, famously known as sexting, it is advisable you re-read the text, look at the recipient’s name – twice on the upper part of your WhatsApp page – before pressing the release to send ‘arrow’. When in doubt, confirm.

‘Delete for everyone'

If you’ve sent an accidental message, especially in a public group, always lookout for the “delete for everyone” feature. It is the last row of the three available delete options. The first is “delete for me”, the second is “cancel (the delete request)” and the third is “delete for everyone”. When you’re sure you want to delete your message sent to a WhatsApp group, always go for the third and last row option – delete for everyone – unless WhatsApp changes the order.

Avoid WhatsApp stickers

WhatsApp stickers are instant. Baba Gloria sent a WhatsApp sticker. Stickers do not allow the user to confirm if they want to send it or not. Once one taps the sticker on the keyboard, it goes out. If you’re about to tap on a suggestive sticker during a WhatsApp group conversation, either out of curiosity or cheekiness, just resist the temptation.

Turn on disappearing messages feature

The disappearing messages feature allows one to view the file only once, and after that, the attached file disappears. This is used mostly by people who send nude or suggestive pictures. However, WhatsApp is yet to innovate a feature that stops the receiver from taking a screenshot of the message sent under the disappearing messages feature. So, you can’t be 100 per cent sure that your private messages won’t end up on the web when you use this feature.

Screen-lock inactive phone

When the phone is inactive, always lock it. A cunning person might access your WhatsApp app and send all manner of dirty content. By the time you’d be in a position to explain yourself, so much damage would have been done already. You can draw a pattern, create a four-digit screen-lock PIN or lock the app itself using a PIN.

Always log out from WhatsApp Web

Before you leave the office or home, where you were logged on to WhatsApp in a computer using the WhatsApp Web feature, ensure that you’ve logged out from the second device. Ill-meaning people might access your computer and send dirty messages to the respectable WhatsApp groups, ruining your reputation in the process.

Use alternative messaging apps

There are several messaging apps that do not archive chats if they are set to do so. Telegram allows for secret chats. Open a conversation with a contact, tap their profile link at the top, then tap the three dots and pick “start secret chat” from the menu that pops up. This opens up a separate conversation thread where text, images, and everything else is temporary. Facebook Messenger and Instagram also have similar features.