WhatsApp introduces new privacy controls, group invite system


Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging platform has introduced a new privacy setting and invite system to help users decide who can add them to groups, the social media giant announced on Monday.

“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. Today, we’re introducing a new privacy setting and invite system to help you decide who can add you to groups,” a statement issued by Facebook read.

With the new features, users will have more control over the group messages they receive. “These new privacy settings will begin rolling out to some users starting today and will be available worldwide in the coming days to those using the latest version of WhatsApp,” the press release added.

To enable them, users can go to settings in the app, then tap account > privacy > groups and select one of three options: ‘everyone’, ‘my contacts’, or ‘my contacts except’. ‘My contacts’ means only users one has in their address book can add them to groups and ‘my contacts except’ provides additional control for who among one’s contacts can add them to a group.

In those cases, according to the statement, an admin who can’t add users to a group will be prompted to send a private invite through an individual chat, giving users the choice of joining the group.

“The users will have three days to accept the invite before it expires,” it said.

Media Matters for Democracy Director Sadaf Khan welcomed the decision, saying: “Developing new ways to increase consumers’ control is a positive step.”

She expressed the hope that WhatsApp will continue to empower consumers with tools that help them define their own information experience in “an active and informed manner”.

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