On the occasion of World Data Privacy Day, WhatsApp aims to highlight the importance of online user safety and security as we move towards a digital-first world and individuals globally spend more and more of their time online, accelerated further by the pandemic.
WhatsApp has been an industry leader among private end-to-end encrypted messaging services in promoting online security. With the objective of helping people connect privately with their friends and family, WhatsApp has made consistent investments in product innovation, state-of-the-art technology, artificial intelligence, data scientists and experts, and processes in order to enhance user safety.
Some of WhatsApp’s Product features that help keep users and their private conversations safe include:
- Encrypted Chats: WhatsApp is built on end-to-end encryption technology which means that calls, messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents and status updates to friends and family are only shared between the sender and the intended recipient. The messages are encrypted to protect against WhatsApp and third parties from reading them.
- Two-Step verification: Users can add an extra layer of security to their WhatsApp account by enabling a Two-Step Verification feature which requires a six-digit PIN when resetting and verifying their WhatsApp account, in the event of the SIM card being stolen or phone being compromised.
- Lock your WhatsApp with Touch ID, Face ID or Fingerprint lock: WhatsApp offers users the ability to add another layer of security to their accounts with Touch ID and Face ID for iPhone, and Fingerprint lock for Android.
- Disappearing messages: ‘Disappearing Messages’ lets users send messages that disappear on WhatsApp. Once enabled, new messages sent to an individual or group chat will disappear twenty-four hours, seven days or ninety days after the time they are sent, depending on the duration users select.
- View once: The ‘View Once’ – feature enables photos and videos to disappear from the chat after they’ve been opened, giving users more control over their privacy.
- End-to-end encrypted backup: Users can now add the same layer of end-to-end encryption to protect their chat backups on iCloud or Google Drive. With end-to-end encrypted backup, messages and media are stored in the cloud and secured by a password or a 64-digit encryption key.
- Block and report: Unlike traditional SMS, WhatsApp provides a simple way for users to block accounts and make reports to WhatsApp if they encounter problematic messages. In addition, users have the option to keep reported messages on their phone if they want to share them with fact-checkers or law enforcement officials.
- Group privacy settings: WhatsApp’s privacy setting and invite system helps users decide who can add them to groups. This significant change increases user privacy and prevents people from being added to unwanted groups.
- Admin controls: To empower users with more control on WhatsApp groups, WhatsApp’s setting enables administrators to decide who can send messages within groups.
Additionally, in compliance with the IT Rules 2021, WhatsApp regularly releases its monthly report in India that highlights steps taken by the company to ensure user safety on WhatsApp. The reports detail user complaints received and the corresponding action taken by WhatsApp, as well as WhatsApp’s own preventive actions to combat abuse on the platform. As captured in the latest Monthly Report, the Company banned 1.75 million accounts in the month of November 2021 alone. India Monthly Reports.