Privacy matters and WhatsApp has just boosted it for its 1+ billion users by welcoming long-overdue two-step verification to the app. The feature is in the roll-out phase for Android beta users, which according to the company "adds more security" to an account. This is exactly why you should activate it.
Normal users of WhatsApp will not get this feature, but it can be changed by simply signing up for beta version from Google Play Store. Go to WhatsApp in the Play Store and find the option to sing in as a beta tester towards the end of the page. Sign up and you will be a part of the community that tests features introduced to WhatsApp before anyone else.
Once you have activated beta, open WhatsApp on your phone and go to Settings > Account > Two-step verification. In case you do not see these options, verify that the app version is 2.16.341 or above.
WhatsApp stresses that the feature is optional and users trying to verify the phone number on the app must use a six-digit passcode that was created using the feature. Users are also requested to setup an email address, which can be used to disable two-step verification when needed.
Read WhatsApp's note below, where it explains the two-factor verification works on the app and the importance of the passcode.
"If you have two-step verification enabled, your number will not be permitted to reverify on WhatsApp within 7 days of last using WhatsApp without your passcode. Thus, if you forget your own passcode, but did not provide an email to disable two-step verification, even you will not be permitted to reverify on WhatsApp within 7 days of last using WhatsApp. After these 7 days, your number will be permitted to reverify on WhatsApp without your passcode, but you will lose all pending messages upon reverifying - they will be deleted. If your number is reverified on WhatsApp after 30 days of last using WhatsApp, and without your passcode, your account will be deleted and a new one will be created upon successfully reverifying."
The beta app also adds another feature that allows users to play audio messages in the background, a much needed feature indeed. With this, users need not keep the particular file open to play the audio. In fact, the audio will continue to play even when the user switches to other apps.