With more people turning to private messaging as a means to interact, as opposed to posting to their public social media feed, WhatsApp has gained a new lease of life, especially in Western markets.
The privacy focus of the app, reinforced by its range of protection tools, has made it the go-to communications device for a rising number of people, with Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg noting last October that North America is now WhatsApp’s fastest-growing region.
With this in mind, Meta’s looking to solidify WhatsApp’s privacy tools, with a view of enhancing its reputation around protection, with two new elements now being rolled out to WhatsApp users.
First off, Meta’s adding an option to silence unknown callers in the app, giving you more control over your incoming WhatsApp calls.
That’ll enable you to avoid spam callers in the app, which can be time wasting, and annoying, for users.
The update is specifically focused on the Indian market, where some users have reported a significant increase in spam calls via WhatsApp of late. Now, you’ll be able to ignore these calls entirely, though any calls from unknown numbers will still be listed in your calls tab and notifications.
In addition to this, WhatsApp’s also launching a new Privacy Checkup push to ensure that users are aware of their privacy options in the app.
As explained by WhatsApp:
“This step-by-step feature guides you through important privacy settings to help you choose the right level of protection, all in one place. Selecting ‘Start checkup’ in your Privacy settings will navigate you through multiple privacy layers that strengthen security of your messages, calls, and personal information.”
Meta has also made similar pushes on Facebook and Instagram, helping to make users aware of the various tools they have at their disposal to combat negative experiences in each app.
Though it also works as a response for when Meta is pushed on why it’s not doing more to address spam. Now, Meta can say that it’s alerted all users to their options, and if they don’t use them, it’s on them. Which can be an effective counter to public criticism of its efforts – and it’s true, Meta can only do so much if users are unwilling to utilize the tools available to them.
The new features will provide more capacity for WhatsApp users to manage their personal experience, which could help to reinforce its position as a trusted messaging app.
And again, with ongoing reports of data harvesting, and sharing information with intelligence groups, both at home and abroad, it makes sense that this should be a key focus for WhatsApp moving forward.