WhatsApp: Security & privacy
Published: 02:53 PM, 21 July 2019 Updated: 02:54 PM, 21 July 2019
With over 200 million monthly active users, WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging app 180 countries across the world. Over the years, WhatsApp has improved the platform with new features such as video calling and stickers. Of late, WhatsApp has increased focus on bettering its security and privacy features, especially after it was widely criticized over the spread of fake news and misinformation.
WhatsApp’s features that every user needs to know:-
- WhatsApp has 1.5 billion active users in over 180 countries.
- The average user checks WhatsApp more than 23 times per day.
- 58% of users access WhatsApp several times per day
- WhatsApp is the third most downloaded Android app in the world.
- WhatsApp is banned in 12 countries.
- There are 3 million companies using WhatsApp Business app.
- 3. One million people on the average register on WhatsApp daily.
- WhatsApp has 300 million daily active status users worldwide.
Here are the top five security and privacy feature that every WhatsApp user needs to know.
From the forwarded label, fact-check to suspicious link detection, WhatsApp has added multiple new features in last one year or so. WhatsApp recently revealed it bans over 2 million accounts per month for abusing the platform. While WhatsApp is fixing the spam and fake news problem, here are some of the top privacy and security features that every WhatsApp user needs to know.
Two-step verification is possibly the easiest way to add another layer of security to your account. Google and Facebook also stress on having two-step verification. For WhatsApp, it helps you verify your account through a six-digit PIN that you create using the feature.
To enable two-step verification, WhatsApp users need to visit Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable. You also have the option to enter your email address which can be used in the case you forget the six-digit PIN.
Protecting WhatsApp profile photos
WhatsApp doesn’t come with Facebook’s screen-guard feature that notifies users when someone copies or takes a screenshot of their profile photos. WhatsApp users can do for now is tweaking the Settings to ensure their profile photo is only visible to their contacts. You can also set the profile photos’ visibility to no one. Here’s how to do it: Go to Settings > Account > Privacy > Profile Photos > Choose between “Everyone”, “My Contacts” and “Nobody.”
Reporting, blocking and more
If you’re receiving spam from an unknown number, here’s what you need to do. Open the chat, tap on the sender name (individual or group) to open their profile. Scroll to the bottom and tap “Report Contact” or “Report group.” You can also block the number. Users can also exit the group that is sending spam.
When enabled, the feature alerts users when a contact’s security code has changed. “Security codes are just visible versions of the special key shared between you - and don’t worry, it’s not the actual key itself, that’s always kept secret. At times, the security codes used in end-to-end encryption might change. This is likely because you or your contact reinstalled WhatsApp or changed phones,” explains WhatsApp on its website.
To activate this feature, launch WhatsApp on your phone. Go to Settings > tap on Account > Security > toggle the button to “Show Security Notifications.”
Note that WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption regardless of this setting.
Bonus: Request Account info
WhatsApp users can also download and export all your account data. The messaging app provides your full data in about three days after the date of the request made. Tap on Settings > Account > Request account info. You will receive a notification when the account information is available for download. Open Settings > Account > Request account info > Download report. A ZIP file will be downloaded on your devices.
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