WhatsApp has added a new privacy option to its app that lets users block group invitations from select users. Users can chose to either completely disable group invites or chose who can send them one. Group invites have been an annoying part of WhatsApp where users are added without their permissions, specifically for spamming purposes. This feature intends to provide a solution for this annoyance.
With this new feature in WhatsApp, users can chose to disable group invites for good or select who can add them to groups. To enable this feature, go to Settings > Account > Privacy > Groups and select the option that suits you the best: Everyone, My Contacts or Nobody. I’m sure most users would want to set this to Nobody but there is a catch here. Despite setting group invites to Nobody, users can still privately invite you to their group.
Here’s what this means. If you want to invite someone to your group and that person has set their group invite setting to Nobody, WhatsApp will tell you that you can privately invite that user to join the group. You can then send the invite privately and the user will have 3 days to respond before the invite expires. This means that users can still be bothered with group invites but they will not be automatically added to groups without their permission.
WhatsApp’s group invitation change is mostly due to complains about how groups make it easy to spread fake news or spam users. This is also one of the reasons that WhatsApp limited message forwarding to just 5 times per message. It’ll be interesting to see the long term benefits to these changes.
This group invitation feature is gradually rolling out and might take a few weeks before it is available to all WhatsApp users.