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Whatsapp's Privacy Settings

30 Aug, 2022

WhatsApp aims to be the most secure place to have an online private conversation. However, one of the most invasive aspects of WhatsApp is that it has been difficult for WhatsApp users to leave group conversations discreetly. Also, other WhatsApp users have been able to go into user settings to find out when a user was last seen online/last used WhatsApp.

Have you ever tried to leave a WhatsApp group discreetly?

People may want to leave a WhatsApp group discreetly for many reasons. Some common reasons include:

  • The person may no longer be interested in the topic of the group chat.
  • The person may have had a falling out with another group chat member.
  • The person may get too many notifications from the group chat and wants to reduce their notifications.
  • The person may be worried about their privacy being compromised if they are in the group chat.

If you have ever tried to leave WhatsApp groups in the past discreetly, you would have probably discovered that it was nearly impossible. Currently, the popular messaging app notifies all participants in a group chat whenever a participant leaves the discussion or is removed from the conversation by default. All group members reading the recent group thread would see a notification with your name saying that you had left the group.

It could be embarrassing for someone when others know they have left the WhatsApp group because they may have been removed from the group or left on their own accord.

If someone has been removed from the group, it may be because they were causing problems or they were not participating in the group. If someone left the group on their own, it might be because they did not like the group or did not want to be a part of it.

The option to leave quietly is not presented to users when they choose to "exit group," which can sometimes cause awkwardness, embarrassment, or drama for those trying to leave without being noticed.

Soon you will be able to leave a WhatsApp group discreetly

According to a recent announcement by Meta, WhatsApp will be upgraded with a range of new privacy enhancements.

WhatsApp users will soon be able to:

  • Users can leave group chats without other participants or the group administrators being informed of their departure.
  • Users will also be allowed to allow only certain contacts - or no one - to see when they are active on the platform.
  • Users who use View Once messages can also use settings to prevent screenshots of their messages from being taken.

According to Zuckerberg, the rollout of these changes will assist in keeping WhatsApp messaging "as private and secure as face-to-face conversations."

These privacy-enhancing features will first be rolled out in the United Kingdom before being implemented in a global upgrade of WhatsApp.

Industry experts welcome more control for users

According to Ami Vora, the head of product for the platform, this was done as part of the company's focus on "building product features that empower people to have more control and privacy over their messages."

Janis Wong, from The Alan Turing Institute, says, "It's always nice to give users more control - users like to have more control, and users need to have more control."

According to Wong, for these new enhancements to be helpful, users need to be aware of them and prompted to use them; otherwise, the usefulness and impact of these new privacy enhancements will be minimal.

WhatsApp isn't considered a suitable business communication channel by the SEC

The relevance of how secure people feel about their privacy on WhatsApp communications doesn't just apply to social contacts. In recent Reuters news on the 22nd of August, it was announced that big banks currently face over $1 billion in regulatory fines from the SEC and CFTC for employees' unapproved use of email and apps like WhatsApp.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Bank of America (BAC.N) face more than $1 billion in regulatory fines for employees' unapproved use of email and apps like WhatsApp.

Other firms being investigated for using WhatsApp include JPMorgan, which has admitted to breaking securities laws. Barclay's, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, UBS Group AG, Citigroup Inc (C.N), and Goldman Sachs are also being investigated by the SEC for employees' use of unapproved channels.

Hopefully, the new enhanced and continuing privacy updates to WhatsApp will go a long way to making WhatsApp a safer communication channel to use.

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