This release also includes link previews in chats to make sharing links with your friends a bit more fun and engaging. Many ask why this seemingly straightforward feature is just now making its way into Status. The answer is simple – privacy. Unfurling URLs, or enabling previews, requires the viewer to give up their IP address to the website. The site requests this information in order to deliver the image and relevant metadata in preview mode. Therefore, Status provides the option to preview links to YouTube only for now while more sites will be added to the white list in the future. Link previews are off by default but anyone can toggle them on at their own discretion.
I recommend not following down the same path that Signal went down. They tried to proxy every single link preview generation and they just ended up getting rate limited by all the domains and previews stopped working all together.
The solution which they finally implemented was to generate the link preview from the sender’s device.
You only need to generate it once from the original sender. This is not a problem because the original sender has almost certainly already been to the website themselves (the damage is done).
But then the other members of the chat don’t need to generate the link preview, they just look at what the other person already generated.
This is also a good way to get around having to manually maintain a list of “safe domains”.