WhatsApp groups are an easy way to keep loads of people in the loop of things, but they certainly aren’t everyone’s cup of tea – chances are that you’ve been added to a group you didn’t particularly care to belong to at some stage. But now, WhatsApp’s updated privacy settings make it easier to control who adds you to groups, better curbing the barrage of group messages that you might receive without giving your permission to be added to a group.

The new privacy settings, revealed in a blog post, lets WhatsApp users specify who can add them to groups, opting to allow everyone, only contacts in their phonebook, or nobody be allowed to solicit group invitations. Selecting “Nobody” in their settings will require them to approve group invitations before they are added to a group.

How to enable the new setting for groups

The new privacy settings will be rolled out as a new setting under the account section of their settings, under privacy and groups.

To change your settings, you will need to open WhatsApp, head to Account > Privacy > Groups, where you will be able to choose between three options: “Nobody”, “My Contacts” or “Everyone”.

Should someone outside of your set boundaries want to add you to a WhatsApp group, they will be prompted to send a private invitation, which gives you the choice of joining a group or not. This invitation will be sent to you, and you will have three days to accept it before it expires.

The announcement from Facebook-owned WhatsApp follows the company’s decision to limit the amount of times a message can be forwarded, after the Indian government blamed the messaging app for a series of mob violence incidents, which it said was caused by fake news spread on the platform.

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in South Africa, with roughly 49% of adult South Africans using it.

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