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Risks, benefits and setup: What you should know about WhatsApp screen sharing

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Screen sharing, also known as desktop sharing, is the practice of sharing the contents of your screen with another device or multiple devices.

This feature allows you to “show” rather than merely “tell” your audience what you are presenting. 

Recently, Meta added this feature to its product WhatsApp. This was revealed by its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, who wrote, “We’re adding the ability to share your screen during a video call on WhatsApp” on his Facebook profile.

According to the WhatsApp blog, screen sharing allows users to share their screens during video calls, group calls, or call links. 

WhatsApp noted that this new feature would open up various possibilities, from collaborating on work documents to browsing photos with family members, planning trips, shopping online with friends, or providing technical assistance to grandparents.

It is, however, important to note the following:

  1. The information displayed on the shared screen includes the usernames and passwords, which are visible to the person you’re sharing with.
  2. Screen sharing is not available during audio calls.
  3. When sharing your screen, the video feeds of call participants appear below shared content.
  4. Audio isn’t available for shared content, such as Youtube, Netflix, or video games.
  5. Screen sharing is protected with end-to-end encryption and is never recorded by WhatsApp. This means no one outside the call, not even WhatsApp, can see or hear what you share on your screen.
  6. You must update the latest WhatsApp version for a better screen-sharing experience. For participants not using the latest version, an onscreen prompt requesting them to update WhatsApp before screen sharing will appear.

Below are the three simple steps to enjoy this new feature on WhatsApp.

  1. Tap the screen icon in the video controls underneath your video call session to access screen sharing.
Screenshot of a video call session with the video controls. 

When you do this, your phone will show a prompt indicating that you’re about to begin recording or casting with WhatsApp.

  1. Tap Start Now/Start Broadcast to begin screen sharing.
Screenshot of prompt to start broadcasting. 

Note that you can choose between sharing a specific application or your entire screen by clicking on the designated’ Share’ icon. 

While sharing your screen, tap anywhere on the screen to remove the message “Stop Broadcast”.

Screenshot of your screen once you start broadcasting. 
  1. When you are done sharing your screen, tap “Stop Broadcast”.
Screenshot of the screen with the option to stop sharing. 
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