After announcing that it will block automated bulk messaging and tweak features for forwards, instant messaging platform WhatsApp will now let users decide who can add them to a group chat.
WhatsApp said in a statement that this will give users greater control over group messages they receive. The feature, which will begin rolling out from Wednesday and be made available globally over the next few weeks, is partly aimed at ensuring that users are not at the receiving end of spam and campaign messages ahead of India’s general election.
Users can access privacy settings on their WhatsApp accounts and choose who -- ‘nobody’ ‘my contacts’ and ‘everyone’ -- can add them to a group.
Users will have to approve every group request if they select ‘nobody’, whereas ‘contacts’ in the address book can add users by sending an individual invite on chat. The invite will lapse in three days.
In February, WhatsApp had released a white paper and stated that it had made significant changes to the product to curb the spread of misinformation ahead of the general election.
Previously, the company had limited the number of forwarded messages to five with a symbol clearly stating that it was a forward. It had also built a feature which did not allow group administrators to re-admit a person who had left the group.
Close to 75% of accounts that WhatsApp has blocked in India have been on the grounds of sending out automated bulk messages. At last count, WhatsApp had 200 monthly active users in the country. The number is expected to have increased as India is a significant market for the Facebook-owned chat app.
WhatsApp had on Tuesday announced the launch of a fact-checking service on the app which enables users to establish the veracity of messages posted by others ,