WhatsApp’s Group feature is quite handy to chat with a small to medium sized group of people; think of your local gaming group, parents whose children go to the same class, or smaller clubs that try to keep everyone informed about events and happenings.
One of the main issues up until now that WhatsApp users may have experienced when it comes to the Groups feature, was that anyone could add anyone to a group. If that sounds familiar to Facebook’s handling of its Groups feature, you are not mistaken.
WhatsApp offered no option to limit the Groups feature to a user’s list of contacts or specific contacts. Anyone could add you to a group and while you could leave it again or block the group admin to ensure that you are not added again, it usually meant that your phone number was exposed to the group in the meantime.
The Facebook-owned company rolled out a new feature to the application’s privacy settings in 2019 that provided users of the service with options to limit who could add a WhatsApp user to groups.
The default is still set to Everyone but it can now be changed. Here is how that is done:
- Open WhatsApp on your mobile device.
- Select Menu > Settings.
- In Settings, select Account > Privacy.
- Tap on the new “Groups” setting in the Privacy listing. WhatsApp displays three options:
- Everyone — the default setting; means, everyone may add you to Groups.
- My Contacts — limits the people who can add you to Groups to your contacts.
- My Contacts except — limits the list of users further by excluding certain contacts.
- Select Done once you have made the change.
Selecting My Contacts or My Contacts except ensures that people that you don’t have in your contacts list add you to Groups in WhatsApp. It is still possible that private links are sent to you in WhatsApp with invitations to join a particular group. These expire automatically in 72 hours though.
WhatsApp seems to have removed the Nobody option that was available in previous versions. You may replicate it by selecting the “My contacts except” option and adding most or all of your contacts to the list of exceptions.
WhatsApp users who have been plagued by unwanted invited to Groups have now an option to block these invites in the future. All it takes is a quick change in the application’s settings to limit the group adding permission to a user’s contacts, part of contacts, or nobody.
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