Bengaluru, NFAPost: WhatsApp has decided to introduce new settings and invite systems to further strengthen its security features in the event of recent data breaches.
In a statement on Wednesday, the company said it is deeply committed to providing the best private messaging experience for the over 1.5 billion people around the world who use the platform.
“One of the pieces of feedback we’ve heard is that people want more control over who can add them to groups. This helps prevent people from getting unwanted messages including viral information that can spread through group,” said the company in a statement.
The moves comes at a time when Israeli surveillance firm NSO used Pegasus software to snoop on the messages of WhatsApp across the globe. Besides Indian politicians, the snooping hit the mobiles of eminent personalities bringing a total ire among suers and the government.
The new features include new setting and invite system that will further empower users to have more control over the group messages they receive. To enable it, users will have to 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 which are in the address book can add user to groups and “My Contacts Except” provides additional control for who among the user contacts can add the user to a group.
The company also stated that henceforth an admin who can’t add a user to a group will be prompted to send a private invite through an individual chat, giving the user the choice of joining the group. The user will get three days to accept the invite before it expires.
According to WhatsApp, the features 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,” states the company.
But experts say that WhatsApp, an app used by approximately 1.5 billion people in 180 countries and 400 million in India, is bearing the brunt of a hack that is not completely its fault. After Responding to a notice by the IT ministry on the WhatsApp spying issue, the Facebook-owned company attached both the vulnerability notes it filed in May as well as the letter it sent to the government in September.
According to a recent staticstics Indian have slowed down the usage of WhatsApp. Its downloads have came down to 80% the week after the Pegasus allegation. Now, Indian users are scouting for other apps like Signal and its downloads are by 63% in the same period.
The snooping allegation on Facebook-owned WhatsApp has made alarm among policy parlance as social media is being widely used in India after widespread availability of cheap data. WhatsApp already government proposal to give explain the kind of safeguard the company put in place to protect the privacy of million of users.
“Our highest priority is the privacy and security of WhatsApp users. In May, we resolved a security issue and notified relevant Indian and international government authorities,” the WhatsApp statement said.
India government has decided give final shape to its Information Technology Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018. The new rule will frame rules and guidelines to social media platform and find the origin of messages which will create harm to social harmony.