Taking a cue from rival Telegram which has been gaining a greater market share and has an automated self-destruct timer that lets messages disappear, Facebook owned WhatsApp is launching a new 'disappearing messages' feature for users across markets starting Thursday.

But unlike Telegram's self-destruct timer, that lets users choose the disappearing time ranging from a second to minutes to a week, messages on WhatsApp will stay on for a week before they disappear, if users activate the feature.

"Our goal is to make conversations on WhatsApp feel as close to in-person as possible, which means they shouldn't have to stick around forever. That's why we're excited to introduce the option to use disappearing messages on WhatsApp," the company said in a blog post.

"We're starting with seven days because we think it offers peace of mind that conversations aren't permanent, while remaining practical so you don't forget what you were chatting about," it added.

The company said the feature will be rolling out to users everywhere this month and the duration of seven days will stay the same across markets. In a response to ET's query on the time limit of seven days and whether that will be changed after the initial roll out, WhatsApp said the company is "listening to user feedback as always and will continue to for this feature."

The company said in a one-to-one chat, either person can turn disappearing messages on or off. In groups, admins will have the control.

On Tuesday, WhatsApp said it has redesigned the storage management tool for people to easily identify, review and bulk delete content that may be filling their phones. WhatsApp is now delivering around 100 billion messages a day, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in the quarterly earnings call last week. In India, its biggest market, WhatsApp has over 400 million users.

In its edition dated September 28, ET had reported business leaders, company bosses, functional heads as well as other professionals and individuals had been adopting Telegram following WhatsApp chats of celebrities being leaked widely amid investigations into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Security experts had said the move to Telegram was also linked to other ongoing controversies involving Facebook, and the fact that the former has features such as automated destruction of messages.