WhatsApp has changed its group settings to include everyone, making some users fearful of scams.

Privacy is of increasing importance in this digital age. Keeping yourself, your money and your information safe is vital. But as scammers and hackers become more intelligent, it can be incredibly difficult to detect what is malicious and what is not.

Let’s take a look at what’s happening on the WhatsApp and ways to stay safe online.

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WhatsApp changes group settings to include everyone

This May 2021, it has been reported that WhatsApp changed its group settings to automatically include ‘everyone’. This means that anyone who has your number can add you to a group. If you do not have the number saved in your contacts, you can still remove yourself from the group and block the number who added you.

While these changes have only recently been noted by the general public, WhatsApp announced they were rolling out changes to their group settings back in 2019.

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It is thought that users are learning about these changes through a round robin message.

Why did WhatsApp change their group settings?

In 2019, WhatsApp discussed the changes to the group settings in an official blog post:

“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.”

There’s three options for group settings: Everyone, My Contacts, My Contacts Except. This gives the user more control over who can contact them on the messenger service. So, no, it’s not a scam!

How to change your default WhatsApp group settings

It’s actually very simple to change your WhatsApp group settings from everyone to only your contacts.

Step 1: Go to WhatsApp

Step 2: Go into Settings –> Accounts –> Privacy –> Groups

Step 3: Change from Everyone to My Contacts

Using the above method will mean that only those numbers saved to your contacts list will be able to add you to any groups. If someone who doesn’t have your number tries to add you to a group, they will be prompted by the app to send a private invite through individual chat. This will give the user the choice of joining the new group. You’ll have three days to accept the invite before it expires.

Keep yourself extra safe on WhatsApp by adding two-step verification.