WhatsApp is implementing new privacy features in the groups with which it wants to contribute to curbing spam and spreading false news. The new configuration will allow us to decide who adds us to a group, so that we can avoid being put into those in which we do not want to be.
In particular, the instant messaging application is introducing an invitation system for groups with which users have the option of joining or not joining the group. This update comes at a time when the role of social networks as diffusers of fake news is worrying, especially platforms such as WhatsApp.
This is the case, for example, in India many political parties have started to use instant messaging applications and social networks as an important source to influence the public. In Brazil, the platform was flooded with falsehoods, conspiracy theories and other misleading propaganda during the elections that led Bolsonaro to the presidency.
In the past there have been many cases of false news circulation through WhatsApp groups. Also, for many people it has become an annoyance to add them to groups where there is a lot of spam. In May of last year, WhatsApp announced that it would make it difficult for users to rejoin the groups they had left to reduce spam group invitations to some extent.
With the new privacy configuration and invitation system, users will have more control over the group messages they receive, they assure from the network. The company says this will "help limit the abuse" and keep people's phone numbers private.
To restrict the incorporation of new groups in WhatsApp, there will be a specific privacy configuration that can be accessed from Account> Privacy> Groups. From there, three different options will be available: Nobody, My contacts, and all.
When selecting the Nobody option, we will have to approve each time someone invites us to be part of a group. The option My contacts will allow the users that we have in the address book to add us directly. With the option All there will be no restriction.
If we do not want anyone to add us to groups, the network will ask the person who invites us to a group to send us a private invitation through an individual chat. The private invitation will expire three days after its reception.
The new privacy configuration and invitation system has been tested in the beta versions of WhatsApp for Android and iPhone. However, the network has revealed that the new development will begin to be implemented for some users starting this week and will be available worldwide in the coming weeks. To experience the change it will be necessary to have the latest version of WhatsApp.