Some may find that subtle buzz from their smartphone exhilarating — the gossip must go on! But, if you’re anything like us, being added to/being part of groups can be draining. Or a least anxiety inducing, especially when it’s a group to which you never asked to be added.But, don’t fret, because WhatsApp is directing its attention to this under-appreciated issue.
The Facebook-owned service will give users the option to control who may add them to groups. In these settings, they’ll be able to choose “Nobody,” “My contacts,” or “Everyone.” although users won’t be able to choose specific contacts yet. Regardless, the new feature is something that will put many notification bars at ease.
But… y tho?
WhatsApp has been working hard to roll out updates to ensure user security — which is why the company is working on an image search tool, for example. Group control is an important step to make users feel like they have more say over their personal accounts. This is especially true in India, where the platform has faced continuous scrutiny to fight fake news and keep people’s information private. TNW reports that it is becoming increasingly common in India for complete strangers to add users to groups without permission. With the Indian national elections coming up, WhatsApp had to step up its privacy game.
When (because we all know it will happen at some point) someone tries to add you to a group you haven’t asked to join, that person will be asked to send you a private message with an invite link, which will be active for 72 hours. So you’ll have three days to let grandma know you don’t want to join a group that is dedicated to pictures of her cats. You’ll be able to access the feature through Settings > Account > Privacy > Groups.
The new feature will roll out in the upcoming weeks in the shape of an update. We don’t have word on a South Africa-specific roll-out just yet, though.