Consent. We've heard everyone talk a lot more about it these days, but it doesn't just apply to people, it should also be required in the tech world. Specifically, from our apps and the services we use. If I like a certain service but don't want to give it all the freedom to do everything it wants, I should be able to limit it. Take for example WhatsApp's groups. For years, anyone could add you to a group, without asking you or even knowing you, and WhatsApp let them do it. You just get a notification that you've been added to a group; you can leave it, sure, but you were already added. Not cool. But WhatsApp is finally remedying the situation.
The messaging service is about to add a new privacy setting for groups that lets you choose who can invite you in the first place: everyone, your contacts, or nobody. If you pick the latter two, restricted people won't be able to force you into a group; they'll have to send you an invite privately that you can either approve or deny.
That is a very welcome change. I don't often get added to a group I don't want, but when it happens, it's grating. Waking up to find 200 unread messages from that birthday party group, or unlocking your phone to see some unknown number has added you along with hundreds of strangers to a group and now all of them have your number... these are never good experiences.
WhatsApp says the feature will be found under Settings > Account > Privacy > Groups and will begin rolling out today. It should be available to everyone in a few weeks.
The setting is starting to show up for some users. Sadly, the default appears to be Everyone, so you'll have to manually change it to whatever you feel comfortable with. Thanks, Gurkanwal Singh and NimeshT!
Rolling out again
WABetaInfo reports that the feature is rolling out again, server-side, with WhatsApp version 2.19.298 and above. We were able to verify this on our end too.
The options are slightly different though: instead of the Nobody choice, you can choose My contacts except... This lets you block specific people from inviting you to groups without your approval. An option to select all contacts is available on the top right; it's the equivalent of blocking everyone. You'll have to remember to update it everytime you add a new contact though.
You can grab the latest WhatsApp version from APK Mirror. Thanks, Gurkanwal Singh!