WhatsApp has been working at least since February on a feature that limits people who can include you in a group. The option started to be released in April, mainly in India, and is now reaching more users.
According to the WABetaInfo, it is being released for WhatsApp users with version 220.127.116.11 on Android and 2.19.298 on iOS. To find out if it’s already available to you, visit Settings> Account> Privacy and look for the item Groups.
When selecting it, the application offers three options of who can add you in groups:
- All: anyone can add you to a group, as is currently the case;
- My contacts: the people on your contact list will be able to add you automatically and strangers will need to send an invitation;
- My contacts, except: the people you select from your contact list will need to send invitations, as well as strangers.
When the feature was released in India, WhatsApp offered the option “Nobody”. With it, it was possible to require anyone to send an invitation in a private conversation before adding you to a group in the app.
The option has been removed, but you can still do something like that by choosing “My contacts except” and then selecting all contacts. This will force the sending of invitations, which display the name of the group and its participants, and are valid for 72 hours.
With the feature, WhatsApp offers a way to end inclusion in groups without users’ consent. As well as the limit on forwarding messages, this is another attempt by the application to contain spam and fake news.