Finally, WhatsApp will demand ‘consent’ before adding people to random groups

Facebook-owned WhatsApp introduces new consent filters for WhatsApp groupsUnsplash/@patrickassale



  • WhatsApp users can now be added to groups only with their consent.
  • They can choose to filter group invites from ‘nobody’, ‘only contacts’ and ‘everyone’ in their privacy settings.
  • Group invites will also expire within 3 days of being issued.
User consent is one of the primary concerns around data privacy and social networks have often been criticized for not having enough safeguards in place. In India, WhatsApp have launched a new privacy feature that opens a new chapter in the conversation around consent.

Even after the latest update, the feature might be available on everyone’s phone yet but it has started to rollout and will be available globally within the next few weeks.

One of the main issues, that even the Indian government pointed out, was that if an invite is sent randomly, users are automatically added to a group regardless of whether they want to be a part of it.

But with the new filter, users can go into their privacy settings and choose to only accept invites from ‘nobody’, ‘only contacts’ or ‘everyone’. The only option that’s lacking is the feasibility to create a custom list of contacts that are allowed to send WhatsApp group invites like the ‘only share with’ setting for Whatsapp Status updates.

Just in case administrators want to send out an invite to someone who is inaccessible due to the new filters, they can still share a group invite link through chat messages. But WhatsApp group invites have a 72 hour, or 3 day, expiry after which the link will no longer allow the invitee to join the group.

WhatsApp has been working diligently towards finding measures that reduce the incidence of spam invites like introducing group descriptions. The additional setting also adds to the already existing feature where group administrators can choose to bar normal participants from sending messages on the group without excluding them from the chat.
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