Is your phone number constantly being re-added to a group that you never wanted to be a part of? Relief is around the corner—especially if you an Indian because authorities in that country are piling the pressure to see that things change. The ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) has written to WhatsApp to consider introducing a feature that will prohibit a user’s number from being added to any group without his consent.
This came on the heels of several complaints received by some government agencies from people that they were being added to groups repeatedly without their consent. A senior government official told the Financial Express that representation from several government agencies have been received, which formed the ministry’s decision to take up the matter with WhatsApp.
“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,” the official said per the Financial Express.
Responding to WhatsApp’s letter, the official according to the Financial Express, said in several cases after a user had exited a group more than twice, he or she was still added through a different admin. In some cases, a new group was formed with a different mobile number and these users were added to the new group.
“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,” the official added.
There has been no response from WhatsApp as at the time of writing this, but users have every right to feel aggrieved when group admins persistently add them to a group they never wanted to be a part of.
My take on this is that it is about time WhatsApp introduced a feature that will allow group admins to add a user to a group without his consent. It is highly frustrating, and should be condemned in its entirety. The problem is not peculiar to India alone as millions of users in other countries feel irritated by a lack of such features.
Last month, WhatsApp finally released the beta version of a feature that we all have been talking about for a while—ability to reply privately to a member of a group. ‘Reply Privately’ has now been enabled by default, and will allow you to engage another member in your group in private chat. When you receive a message in a group, the new feature will allow you to reply privately to any member of the group.
Simply tap the ‘Reply Privately’ button that has now been added to the app, and WhatsApp will automatically open the private chat with the contact. So, even when you don’t have the details of the contact pre stored on your phone, you will still be able to invite him to a private chat.