New privacy controls stops users being added to group chats they didn’t give permission to join
Facebook owned messaging service WhatsApp has introduced new controls to give users greater control over being added to group chats without their permission.
The move is part of a number of measures designed to stop the WhatsApp platform being used to easily spread misinformation.
Earlier this year as part of that process, WhatsApp limited the forwarding of messages to just five people. The previous limit had been 20 people, but WhatsApp had applied the restriction in India in an effort to halt mob killings in that country, blamed on false messages spread by the messaging platform.
And now WhatsApp have moved to stop the practice of being added to a group chat without consent.
The new controls are starting to be rolled out to users around the world this week via the updated app.
According to VentureBeat, users will soon have an option to control who can add them to groups, and the new feature can be found in the updated App’s Settings > Account > Privacy > Groups.
They will then be confronted with three options: Nobody, My Contacts, or Everyone.
The Nobody option means the user can prevent anyone from being able to add you.
The My Contacts option will stop people from adding you to groups if they are not a contact in your address book.
The Everyone option will allow everyone to add you to any group they want.
In order to invite someone who has activated the restricted ‘Nobody’ access, users will need to send a private message to the person with an invite link.
It is then up to that person to decide whether they wish to join the group through the invite link, which will be active for 72 hours.
The move comes after the messaging platform said that it had been noticing swaths of people being added to politically motivated WhatsApp groups without their consent in certain countries.
Facebook of course is trying to hard to improve its privacy stance, and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg used an op-ed piece in The Washington Post to call for an international framework that would “establish a way to hold companies such as Facebook accountable by imposing sanctions when we make mistakes”.
Facebook of course acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for a staggering $22bn, despite the fact that WhatsApp at the time had a tiny revenue stream.