MeitY has requested WhatsApp to add a feature so that users' consent is taken before they are added to group on the online messaging app.
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WhatsApp could soon implement a new feature so that users are first asked for permission before being added to any group. As per a Financial Express report, request for the new feature was sent by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) after some government agencies received complaints from users of the online messaging app that they were being added to groups repeatedly without their consent. A senior government official said, “Following these complaints, MeitY wrote to WhatsApp. The social media app responded by saying that as per their policy, group admin must have the subject’s number stored in the phonebook and if the subject exits the group twice, then he/she cannot be added a third time.”
However, in another letter, the official said that even after exiting twice from a group, one could again be added to it without their prior permission. This could be done by a different admin or sometimes in a new group that was created with a different phone number. Even though WhatsApp has some rules in place for not adding someone who has exited a WhatsApp group, there are ways to circumvent them. “Following this, MeitY has again written to WhatsApp appreciating the efforts it is taking to check such practices, but pointed out that these measures were not adequate. Now the ministry has again urged them to explore introducing this feature where a subject’s consent is taken before adding him/her to any group. WhatsApp response on this is awaited,” added the official. As per the report, WhatsApp is yet to comment on this.
The new feature will actually be helpful for WhatsApp users since there seem to be no effective measures to stop someone from adding people to a group again and again. While there is an option to send an invite so that a person can decide whether or not to join a group, admins usually tend to simply add new members directly. The new feature requested by MeitY might serve as a good addition to the app.
Speaking of WhatsApp, the company is reportedly testing some new features for the app. It could soon receive support for consecutive playback of voice messages, along with a Group Call Shortcut on the Android version of the app. The Consecutive voice messages feature is said to enable users to listen to all received voice messages in quick succession, without needing to press play on every individual voice message. You can learn more about the new features here.
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