Wait, what? This new WhatsApp feature could lead to your account being suspended

TWhatsApp is rolling out a feature that could lead to account suspensions. FILE PHOTO: Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

TWhatsApp is rolling out a feature that could lead to account suspensions. FILE PHOTO: Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

Published Mar 3, 2023


Johannesburg - Instant messaging platform WhatsApp will soon allow users to report and permanently mute contact statuses, a feature missing from the service since its launch.

The feature is reportedly under development by the Meta-owned platform and is expected to enable the ability to report certain status updates that may violate WhatsApp’s Terms of Service.

According to independent WhatsApp reporting blog, WABetaInfo, statuses which are reported are forwarded to the company’s moderation team.

The feature has recently been released to some beta testers of WhatsApp who have installed the latest version on Apple’s iOS operating system and some Android beta testers, as well.

“This feature is enabled for your account in case you see a new ‘report’ action within the status options. When you report a status update, it will be forwarded to WhatsApp for moderation reasons. If it violates their Terms of Service, the account may be suspended from using WhatsApp,” WABetaInfo said.

The introduction of the new feature could see users being suspended or even banned if reported by their contacts, who may dislike or be offended by the statuses they post.

Despite this, it is speculated that the upcoming feature is expected not to compromise end-to-end encryption, as this protects messages and calls on all devices, and it is widely regarded as a key functionality of the platform amid growing global concerns over data privacy.

“This means that no one else, not even WhatsApp, Meta, and a proxy provider, can read your personal messages and listen to your private calls. A similar report feature is not so unusual as other instant messaging apps have similar report features to keep the platform and users safe,” WABetaInfo reported.

Permanently muting statuses

Accompanying speculation of the upcoming status-reporting feature is the ability for users to mute statuses from contacts within their message notifications, a feature previously released by WhatsApp.

“WhatsApp had already released this feature in 2017, although the mute button was only visible when receiving many messages from a contact or group. After this update, the mute button is always visible in any circumstance,” WABetaInfo said.

* If any of the new features mentioned above are yet to be available for you, it probably has yet to be rolled out for your device. It should be visible for all users within the coming weeks after the latest update.

IOL Tech