WhatsApp is trying to get smarter and the newest feature they are adding in this pursuit is a ranking feature. This will automatically rank all your contacts, in order to detect which contacts you interact with more than others.
The algorithm behind this will look at various aspects such as;
- How much you chat with a specific contact per day (so if you send and receive messages — normal ranking — if you send and receive media — good ranking — if you ignore the message — bad ranking)
- If you are used to calling a specific contact (that’s the best way to increase the ranking).
- If you and a contact are in the same group and you interact each other (with replies and mentions).
- If you view or ignore a status update published by that specific contact.
This data will be used in status updates and the contacts you talk to more often will rank higher than the ones you don’t. Instead of just having a chronological order of status’ regardless of who’s status you actually open. It’s not a major update but I understand why this feature is necessary. You get to see the things that are more relevant to you.
Of course, if you watch status’ of contacts you don’t even speak to then yeah you may be out of luck initially but it will eventually learn that you don’t speak to that contact but you do open their status’ and they will rank higher once again.
The feature isn’t available on Android yet but beta testers on iOS are already getting the ranking. Not everyone will have the feature so if you are a beta tester and you don’t have the feature yet then that’s not a problem. Seen that the feature has just recently been enabled, it will require some time before WhatsApp is able to rank all your contacts, so you should still see the status list in chronological order.
Are these preferences being tracked?
According to WA Betainfo, everything is done locally and no data is going to WhatsApp/Facebook:
The ranking feature just works locally. It means that no data is sent to WhatsApp/Facebook about your ranking information. Nothing is stored in the server, it’s everything saved on your phone.
In fact, if you reinstall WhatsApp and you don’t restore from the backup, WhatsApp will start to rank all your contacts again.