In a very much welcomed move, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has announced that it will roll out a feature in the coming weeks that gives users much more control over group chats in the app. The company will soon add a new privacy tool to the app that allows a user to block anyone from adding them to a group chat. The feature comes as concerns have mounted over the past few years that WhatsApp group chats are being used to spread fake news and disinformation.
Under the new controls, a user will be able to go to Settings > Accounts > Privacy > Groups in the app and then select from three options:
- Nobody–choosing this means no one will be able to add you to a group automatically.
- My Contacts–this option gives anyone whose number who have saved in your phone’s address book to add you to a group.
- Everyone–this setting essentially keeps things as they are now. Anyone on WhatsApp can add you to a group.
What’s really nice about these new settings is if you set your group privacy to “Nobody,” no one will be able to add you to a group by default. However, the group’s creator will be able to send you a link in a private message asking you to join the group. If you click on this link within 72 hours, you’ll be added to the group. If not, the link will expire and that group isn’t your problem.
Overall, this is a terrific move from WhatsApp. Not only should it help hinder the spread of fake news on its platform, but it will stop your coworkers and acquaintances from being able to add you to such group winners as “**Looking for a roommate ASAP!!!**” and “Fred from accounting’s 10th workaversary surprise party!”