Of late, WhatsApp feature has become a powerful tool for WhatsApp users. But even as millions of WhatsApp users use groups to carry put conversations — private, social and professional — WhatsApp groups have also come under scanner for abuse, especially in countries like India. Now, it seems WhatsApp is hoping to bring in some checks and balances into its group feature. A new report says that the company is hoping to give more power to WhatsApp group administrators so that they can keep an eye on the messages that group members are sending.
According to WABetaInfo, a website that often leaks new WhatsApp features based on the beta builds of the app, the messaging app is coming out with a new feature called Restricted Groups. This feature will allow a group administrator to start a WhatsApp group that will give only some privileges to the members.
Restricted Groups will reportedly allow the WhatsApp group administrators to approve a message before it gets published into the group. It will also allow them to restrict a member from participating in discussions without kicking the person out of the group if administrators feel any member has abused the group feature.
The news report from WABeta says that the Restricted Groups feature is already part of WhatsApp version 2.17.430 that has been submitted to Google Play store for approval.
In countries like India, where WhatsApp groups are very popular and are used by families for personal conversations as well as by big companies for work, have acquired a notoriety for spreading false, baseless or sensational information. The groups have also reportedly allowed people to spread malicious and or hate-filled messages as well as violence and rape videos.
The problem has become so big that in some instances police and law enforcement agencies have issued notifications that they will hold the WhatsApp group administrators responsible if unlawful messages, videos or pictures are shared in a group.
The Restricted Groups feature may not solve the problems associated with WhatsApp groups but it may give enough power to group administrators to contain the misinformation. And as we have heard it again and again, with great power comes great responsibility. So once WhatsApp group administrators have tools to check misinformation and rogue members, they may also be obligated to keep the group clean. That said, another big problem that WhatsApp groups have is not going to be solved by the latest upcoming update. This problem is an ability of anyone to create a group and add anyone into it, without their permission. You can always get out of the group when you have been added to one, but before your numbers get added there is no permission that is sought. This not only allows for widespread SPAM on WhatsApp but is also an unnecessary hassle for many, especially in a country like Indian where getting phones numbers of people is quite easy. May be in future updates, after the WhatsApp version 2.17.430, the Facebook-owned chat app will fix this problem too.
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