Lately, WhatsApp seems to be very focused on improving its user’s privacy and a new beta release augments account security even more, through the implementation of a feature that empowers users to hide their phone numbers.
Ordinarily, in community chat environments, participants’ identities remain shrouded from one another (except for administrators who possess comprehensive access to all names) — however, engaging with a message within a community announcement group can inadvertently expose your phone number, compromising your desired level of anonymity.
To address this pressing concern, Meta’s instant message app has introduced the Phone Number Privacy feature, which empowers users to obscure their contact information from prying eyes.
Per information gleaned from WABetaInfo, the information menu of the community’s announcement group will now incorporate a novel option known as Phone Number Privacy. Upon selecting this option, users are promptly greeted with a warning that acknowledges the concealment of their details while underscoring that select individuals will still retain access to their phone numbers.
Exceptions to this arrangement include community administrators, individuals who have saved the user’s contact information, and those who have obtained the number through other chat exchanges. Moreover, users are bestowed with the ability to send a request to contacts who have opted to hide their numbers, thereby soliciting the sharing of their contact particulars.
It is crucial to note that this tool can solely be employed by community members. If you serve as an administrator or the creator of the community, WhatsApp explicitly prohibits the concealing of your phone number.
When will it be available?
To avail themselves of the Phone Number Privacy feature, users can install the latest WhatsApp beta for Android via the Google Play Store or WhatsApp beta for iOS through the Apple App Store — nevertheless, it is pertinent to bear in mind that the option to access the WhatsApp beta program using Apple’s TestFlight program is no longer extended to new users.
Although iPhone users might not have immediate access to the beta version, Android users can still partake in the beta program by enlisting via the Play Store.
The beta release is being gradually rolled out, thus the availability of the Phone Number Privacy feature might not be immediately evident upon installation; It is advisable to remain vigilant for the beta update on your device (while the official launch date of this feature remains undisclosed, its beta phase implies an imminent release).
Potential extension to other WhatsApp groups
WABetaInfo also alludes to the potential extension of this update to other WhatsApp groups, albeit without specifying the precise groups that will be affected. The integration of this feature in smaller WhatsApp groups would undeniably prove advantageous in terms of bolstering anonymity.
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