- This feature allows users to automatically filter calls from frauds, scams, and unknown people to ensure greater security.
- Unknown calls will not be heard on WhatsApp users’ phones, but will be listed in their calls list
- The unknown callers feature was launched after WhatsApp users in India experienced a huge increase in international spam calls this month.
Meta WhatsApp-owned messaging app has launched a new feature that allows users to silence incoming calls from unknown numbers.
“Silence Unknown Callers” is designed to give you more privacy and control over calls. It can help you automatically block scam calls, spam and calls from unknown numbers to ensure your safety.
Calls that go unanswered will not ring WhatsApp users’ phones, but will appear in their list of contacts.
WhatsApp has also added a feature called Privacy Checkup to ensure that everyone is aware of the various security options on the platform. This feature will guide users through important privacy settings so that they can choose the best level of protection.
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WhatsApp Spam Call Saga
The unknown callers feature was launched after WhatsApp customers in India detected a significant increase in incoming spam from international messages last month.
- Several customers on Twitter complained that the vast majority of these calls had country codes corresponding to Indonesia (+62), Vietnam (+84), Malaysia (+60), Kenya (+254) and Ethiopia (+251). The spam calls also included video calls.
- The scammers targeted users through an elaborate hoax, starting with an offer of employment, and then offering cash for monthly online tasks.
Many spammers used temporary mobile numbers to call users. After that if the app refused to allow the number then they switched to another number. It was not difficult for spammers to obtain different numbers, as many websites allow temporary numbers that allow users to send or receive text messages.
Following the incident, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar announced that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) would send a message to the Meta-owned messaging platform.
After talks between the government and WhatsApp, the messaging app had accepted to remove the mobile numbers used for the fraud.
A WhatsApp spokesperson also said that the company is enhancing the company’s AI and ML systems to reduce the frequency of such calls. According to the spokesperson, in the new policy, the existing rate of calling will be cut by 50 percent.
WhatsApp has recently introduced Channels feature which will streamline the sharing of information and updates which will provide one-way messaging option for administrators.
India is one of the biggest markets for WhatsApp with over 500 million users. Additionally, WhatsApp has 15 million business users in India. Therefore, it is not surprising that smear calls were affecting Indian users in a significant way.
WhatsApp is already under government scrutiny over privacy of data, as well as other concerns.
In October last year, the Meta-owned messaging application was hit by a two-hour disruption. In the following days, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) officials directed the platform to register an inquiry into the issue and asked the platform to provide the reasons behind the blockage.
What is the “Silence Unknown Callers” feature on WhatsApp?
The ‘Silence Unknown Callers’ feature on WhatsApp allows users to block calls from fraud or scams and unknown persons instantly to provide the highest level of security. It can block scammers or spam calls as well as incoming phone calls from unknown numbers giving users more security and privacy on their calls.
What is what is the “Silence Unknown Callers” feature function?
Once activated, this “Silence Unknown Callers” feature will ensure that calls made by unknown numbers will not ring on WhatsApp users’ phones. Instead, calls from unknown numbers will be displayed in the user’s call list, allowing them to view the details of the calls received.
What was the reason behind why it that the “Silence Unknown Callers” feature introduced?
This feature was introduced due to the dramatic increase in international spam calls received through WhatsApp customers in India. Many users complained of receiving spam calls that included country codes that corresponded to countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
Are users still able to see missed calls coming from unknown number?
Yes and even though unknown calls will not be able to call users phone but they will appear in user’s contacts list. It allows users to view missed calls as well as check information on unknown numbers who tried to contact them.
What additional security features is WhatsApp added in recent times?
WhatsApp has introduced a feature known as Privacy Checkup that will guide users through important privacy settings. This helps users understand and decide on the appropriate security level for their account and messages.