According to an update on WhatsApp feature tracker WABetaInfo, the messaging app is now testing a new security feature that will enable users to hide their phone numbers in groups and WhatsApp Communities that are accessible to the public for business purposes. The feature is currently being tested with Android beta version 22.214.171.124, and it is unknown when it will become available to all users.
WhatsApp Communities is a new feature that is presently in development. It will appear like a digital community, where everyone can run their own community with different groups, hence fostering diversity. This feature will make it easier to keep track of a lot of different groups.
WhatsApp described that anyone can make a community and send invites to other groups on the platform to join their communities. So, these communities will act as an umbrella for the different subgroups that are part of it, and they will be able to send messages to all of these subgroups. But there’s a catch: to join a community, the group admin of those subgroups will have to accept the invites first, and only community admins will be able to send messages to the other members of the community.
The new security feature of concealing phone numbers was introduced as a result of the fact that business WhatsApp groups and these communities typically have a large number of erroneous members. Therefore, it becomes essential to conceal one’s phone number for security reasons. The new feature will satisfy consumers’ need for privacy. WhatsApp also stated on its FAQ page that users would have the ability to leave these groups silently, that is, without informing other members, as well as to ban and report accounts within them
The good news is that people in one group won’t be able to see messages from other groups in the same community, nor will they be able to see the phone numbers of people in other groups. In its first phase, the instant messaging app is only planning to let a certain number of members, say thousands, make announcements to the whole community.
WABetaInfo’s update says that the feature will be turned off by default for all users at first. Before joining a WhatsApp group, the user can change the settings later. Users can also decide to make their contact information visible to a certain group. A screenshot of how a new feature will look was also included in the update to give users a better idea of what to expect.
WhatsApp has been developing a lot of additional features recently. Furthermore, Mark Zuckerberg just disclosed the launch of three new privacy features for WhatsApp. These might include the ability to leave WhatsApp groups silently without other participants’ notice, the ability to limit who can see your online status, and the ability to prevent users from taking screenshots view-once WhatsApp conversations. Other improvements include the ability for group administrators to remove messages for everyone, the ability for users to save disappearing chats, a new “login approval” prompt function, etc.
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