As you may have heard WhatsApp is one of the most used instant messages systems in the world. Until today, it is estimated that 1.5 billion persons use the platform actively.

WhatsApp unfortunately still uses your mobile phone number to login to their service, and by accessing your local mobile device contact list it manages to connect people to each other. I must say it works very well since many years (although some people are not very happy with them since they have been acquired by Facebook). Still this is how I keep in touch with family and friends all over the world.

The problem

As many other instant messaging platforms, WhatsApp also has a Group functionality. The problem with this is that by default, the platform allows any person to add you to a group (even without your permission).

Some bored fellows are managing to get people banned from WhatsApp and this is how they do it:

  1. You are added to a WhatsApp group by someone you dont know at all.
  2. The WhatsApp group has on its name or description (the only parts which are not encrypted) with some illegal keywords (like pedophile, child porn, etc.). This would catch the attention of the WhatsApp advanced machine learning scanner.
  3. Then the WhatsApp group gets automatically deleted and every member from the group is also banned from using the app entirely.
  4. You lose access to your WhatsApp.
  5. You now have a problem.

How to fix it

While there might probably be a way to contact WhatsApp support and tell them that you were forcibly added to the group. I would recommend to follow these simple steps to avoid getting into the problem at all (below steps and images are on the iPhone, but if you use an Android device it should also work similarly):

1 – Open WhatsApp and go to “Settings” on the lower bottom part of the screen.
2 – Click on “Account“.
3 – Click on “Privacy“.
4 – Click on “Groups“.
5 – Select the option “My Contacts“. This way only your contacts will be able to add you to a group, reducing the chances of falling into the issue explained above.

If prompted, tap on “Done“.

If you need to be invited to a group and you dont have the person saved in your contacts, just asked them to share the group link so you can join the group through the link. You can learn more about how to do this, here.

I would foresee WhatsApp enabling by default the “My Contacts” option to prevent people from having this problem, but until then, you now know how to protect yourself 😉

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