WhatsApp makes group chats more secure, gives users more control

WhatsApp on Wednesday said it has introduced a new invite system on its platform that will enable users to decide who can add them to a group.

“WhatsApp groups continue to connect family, friends, coworkers, classmates and more. As people turn to groups for important conversations, users have asked for more control over their experience,” the Facebook-owned firm said in a statement.

WhatsApp makes group chats more secure, gives users more control

The company has introduced a new privacy setting and an invite system to help users decide who can add them to groups. Currently, users can be added to a group without their consent. However, they can leave the group once they are added.

The method

“To enable it, go to Settings in your app, then tap Account > Privacy > Groups and select one of three options: ‘Nobody,’ ‘My Contacts’, or ‘Everyone’. ‘Nobody’ means you will have to approve joining every group to which you are invited, and ‘My Contacts’ means only users you have in your address book can add you to groups,” WhatsApp said.

Three days

It these cases, it added, the person inviting someone to a group would be prompted to send a private invite through an individual chat, giving the receiver the choice of joining the group. “You will have three days to accept the invite before it expires.”

The company said with the new features, users will have more control over the group messages they receive. The new privacy settings will begin rolling out to some users starting Wednesday and will be available worldwide in the coming weeks to those using the latest version of WhatsApp.

PTI adds:

Rumours and fake news

WhatsApp, which counts India as one of its largest markets with over 200 million users, had faced flak from the Indian government after a series of mob-lynching incidents, triggered by rumours circulating on the messaging platform, claimed lives last year.

Under pressure to stop rumours and fake news, WhatsApp had last year restricted forwarding messages to five chats at once. It has also been putting out advertisements in newspapers and running television and radio campaigns offering tips to users on how to spot misinformation.

With ensuing general elections, the Indian government had warned social media platforms of strong action if any attempt was made to influence the country’s electoral process through undesirable means.

One of the amendments being mulled in the IT intermediary rules (meant for online and social media platforms) will require them to enable tracing out of such originators of information as needed by government agencies that are legally authorised.

However, WhatsApp has so far resisted the government’s demand for identifying message originators, arguing that such a move would undermine the end-to-end encryption and the private nature of the platform, creating potential for serious misuse.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 6:12:20 PM |

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