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WhatsApp New ‘Safety in India’ To Protect Online


WhatsApp New ‘Safety in India’ To Protect Online

As an end-to-end encrypted messaging service. WhatsApp's focus is on user safety. In India, more than 400 million people use WhatsApp to communicate privately with friends and family, so we remain devoted to helping our users stay safe online.

WhatsApp has made significant product changes to help enhance security and privacy. Besides continuous product innovations, over the years we have also consistently invested in state-of-the-art technology, artificial intelligence, data scientists, experts, and in processes, to support user safety, said company.

Product features to keep you safe

Two-Step verification: We recommend users to add an extra layer of security to their WhatsApp account by enabling a Two-Step Verification feature which requires a six-digit PIN when resetting and verifying your WhatsApp account, in the event of your SIM card being stolen or your phone being compromised.

Lock your WhatsApp with Touch ID or Face ID: WhatsApp offers its users the ability to add another layer of security to their accounts with Touch ID and Face ID for iPhone, and Fingerprint lock for Android..

Forward limits: We have set a limit on forwarding messages to just five chats at once, making WhatsApp one of the few messaging services to intentionally constrain sharing. This has reduced the number of forwarded messages on WhatsApp in India by over 25%. This counting of forwards occurs on users’ devices and is protected by end-to-end encryption which means only the sender’s device and the recipient's device have access to it.

Additional limits for viral messages: We have set additional limits for forwards that have been forwarded many times. These messages are marked with double arrows and labeled as “Forwarded many times” to indicate they did not originate from a close contact and can only be forwarded to one other chat at a time. This change reduced these kinds of messages by over 70%.

Block and report: Unlike traditional SMS, WhatsApp provides a simple way for users to block accounts and make reports to WhatsApp if they encounter problematic messages. We encourage users to report problematic contacts to us. In addition, we now provide the option for people to keep reported messages on their phone if they want to share them with fact checkers or law enforcement officials.

Message level reporting: Users can now report accounts to WhatsApp by flagging a specific message. Users simply need to long press a message to either report or block a user.

Disappearing messages: We have launched ‘Disappearing Messages’ to let users send messages that disappear from WhatsApp. Once enabled, new messages sent in the individual or group chat will disappear twenty-four hours, seven days or ninety days after the time they are sent, depending on the duration users select.

View once: We launched the feature ‘View Once’ - photos and videos that disappear from the chat after they’ve been opened, giving users even more control over their privacy.

Group privacy settings: WhatsApp’s privacy settings and group invite system allow users to decide who can add them to groups. This significant change increases user privacy and helps prevent people from being added to unwanted groups.

Admin controls: We have made a number of changes to WhatsApp groups that empower users with additional controls. We launched a setting that enables administrators to decide who can send messages within groups.

Flash calls: New Android users opting for WhatsApp and users re-installing WhatsApp on an Android phone (such as one who is changing phone handsets), now have the option to verify their phone number through an automated call, as opposed to an SMS message, if they’d like. This allows WhatsApp to call their device and verify automatically, eliminating the need for any other SMS verification action.

End-to-end encrypted backup: Users can now add the same layer of end-to-end encryption to protect their chat backups on iCloud or Google Drive. With end-to-end encrypted backup, messages and media are stored in the cloud and secured by a password or a 64-digit encryption key.

Preventing abuse in India

WhatsApp has no direct visibility into the content of personal messages sent on our service. Hence, we rely on behavioural signals from accounts and available unencrypted information including user reports, profile photos, group photos and descriptions. We deploy a combination of security measures and processes to help keep our users safe. We apply spam detection technology to spot and take action on accounts engaging in abnormal behavior to stop spam. Additionally, we have built specific India-processes that help to prevent abuse on WhatsApp in India.

Grievance Officer: We have a Grievance Officer. based in India, who can be contacted if a user has a concern about their experience and is unable to report it through other channels. We continually work with government authorities to keep our users safe and provide a separate dedicated channel for requests by government and law enforcement authorities here to facilitate an expeditious and effective response.

Promoting cybersecurity to safeguard you against scams, spams and impersonation

Sharing Account One-Time Password (OTP): To protect user privacy, WhatsApp recommends not sharing an OTP with unknown third parties. For example, if a user receives a message requesting their OTP in exchange for a reward or special offer (via SMS or other means), users are recommended to be mindful that the sender could be a bad actor trying to access and subsequently compromise the said account, such as by impersonation or through other scams.


A bad actor who gains access to a user’s account could compromise the account, such as by misusing their display picture or messaging their contacts. Additionally, the bad actor with access to the user’s contacts might also use the information to impersonate the user’s contacts, messaging the victim themselves with requests for information or other assistance.

We strongly recommend carefully scrutinizing messages that request sensitive information, money or other assistance, even if those messages initially appear to have been sent from known contacts. In such circumstances, it is best to verify that the message was in fact sent from someone known (for example, calling the contact who is the apparent sender and asking them if they’ve sent the request). Take appropriate action, only after you ascertain facts.

A bad actor who gains access to a user's account could also reach out to any of the user’s contacts asking for money while posing as them, without their knowledge.

Beware that such impersonation is often carried out by fraudsters and users can protect their accounts by enabling Two-Step Verification. on WhatsApp to keep accounts safe.

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