WhatsApp finally lets you decide who can add you to groups

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With all the controversy that continues to hound Facebook, it’s almost too easy to forget about the other social networking services it owns. Instagram remains ever so popular and some still resort to WhatsApp for their messaging needs. The latter, however, has had its fair share of privacy-related scandals but now it’s taking a step forward in that arena by giving users more control over the groups they are invited to join.

WhatsApp is calling it “Privacy Settings for Groups” but it’s really more like “Group Invite Settings for Users”. Rather than providing options on who can join groups, the new feature gives users control on who can add them to groups. Same effect, just different starting points.

Previously, anyone can invite you to a group and you’d automatically find yourself in it, whether you like it or not. This has led to a situation called spam group invites that users pulling their hair out in frustration. WhatsApp immediate solution last year was to make it harder for someone to invite you back to a group after you’ve left.

This time, it’s placing a proper fix. Users can decide whether Everyone, Nobody, or just their Contacts can add them to a group. In case of the latter two, inviters will be presented with a notice that they will have to send a private invitation first. Such invites will automatically expire in three days.

Curiously, such a system will alert inviters to the fact that such a person does have that setting turned on. WhatsApp should have made asking permission as the default in the first place. The new Group Invite settings are starting to roll out and will hopefully put an end to group spam invites once and for all.

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