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New WhatsApp update stops people from adding you to groups without your permission – here’s how to activate it

I belong to the group of people who hates WhatsApp groups. In fact, I think I am in less than 5 of these groups which I rarely participate in because I suck at using the app itself.

I have always left all previous groups I have been added to that had been created for some wedding, trip or any other thing because the idea of someone adding me to a group without my permission just didn’t go well with me. Of course, I had to notify the group owner about this.

Being added to a strange group chat could potentially expose your phone number to hundreds of people – a cause for privacy concerns and that’s why I am so excited about the new WhatsApp update. The new feature will stop people from adding you to groups you do not want to join.

‘’WhatsApp groups continue to connect family, friends, coworkers, classmates and more. As people turn to groups for important conversations, users have asked for more control over their experience. Today, we’re introducing a new privacy setting and invite system to help you decide who can add you to groups.’’ the Facebook-owned service said in a blog post.

Previously, once someone had your phone number, they could add you to a group chat without your permission. The only option you had was to block the group admin to avoid being added to a group and that’s why this new update has come as a big relief.

You can enable this feature by going to Settings in your app, then tap Account > Privacy > Groups and select one of three options: “Nobody”, “My Contacts”, or “Everyone”. “Nobody” means you’ll have to approve joining every group to which you’re invited, and “My Contacts” means only users you have in your address book can add you to groups.

In those cases, WhatsApp says the person adding you to a group will be prompted to send a private invite through an individual chat, giving you the choice of joining the group. You’ll have three days to accept the invite before it expires.

These new features give you more control over the group messages you receive.  Some users are already receiving the update but WhatsApp says it will be available worldwide in the coming weeks to those using the latest version of WhatsApp.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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