WhatsApp on Wednesday announced a change in its privacy settings. The Facebook-owned company is now allowing users to choose who can add them to groups. Earlier, users were added to groups without their consent. “WhatsApp groups continue to connect family, friends, co-workers, classmates and more. As people turn to groups for important conversations, users have asked for more control over their experience. Today, we're introducing a new privacy setting and invite system to help you decide who can add you to groups," WhatsApp said in a blog post.
The move assumes significance, especially ahead of elections in the country, as social media platforms are expected to play a major role in political campaigns to reach out to citizens in large numbers.
To enable the feature, users can go to ''settings'' option in WhatsApp app and select one of three options -- "nobody," "my contacts," or "everyone."
If they choose "nobody", users will have to approve joining every group to which they are invited.
Upon choosing "my contacts" option, users from the person's address book will be able to add them to groups.
In these cases, the person inviting you to a group will be prompted to send a private invite through an individual chat, giving the user choice of joining the group.
On Tuesday, WhatsApp unveiled its 'Checkpoint Tipline', where people can check the authenticity of information received as the messaging giant looks to crack down on fake news ahead of the general election in the country. "Launched by PROTO, an India-based media skilling startup, this tipline will help create a database of rumours to study misinformation during elections for Checkpoint - a research project commissioned and technically assisted by WhatsApp," the Facebook-owned company said in a statement.
It added that starting Tuesday, people in India can submit misinformation or rumours they receive to the Checkpoint Tipline on WhatsApp (+91-9643-000-888). Once a WhatsApp user shares a suspicious message with the tipline, PROTO's verification centre will seek to respond and inform the user if the claim made in message shared is verified or not.
"The response will indicate if information is classified as true, false, misleading, disputed or out of scope and include any other related information that is available," the statement said.