WhatsApp’s new privacy feature lets you silence unknown callers

20 Jun 2023

Image: © burdun/Stock.adobe.com

WhatsApp said that calls from unknown numbers will not ring on users’ phones but will be visible in their call logs.

Incoming call notifications from unknown callers on WhatsApp could become a thing of the past for many as the Meta-owned platform is introducing a new feature that lets users silence calls from anonymous numbers.

The feature is being rolled out today (20 June) alongside a Privacy check-up feature that makes people aware of their privacy options on WhatsApp. Both new tools are part of WhatsApp’s push to prove it cares about protecting the privacy of its users.

The company has previously landed itself in hot water in the UK over the region’s plan to remove end-to-end encryption on messages – something WhatsApp argues is a violation of the right of an individual to have private conversations on its platform. Earlier this year, WhatsApp made it clear that it would pull out of the UK rather than accept any laws to remove end-to-end encryption.

In a blog post accompanying today’s feature announcement, the company said “Protecting the privacy of your messages remains the driving force behind what we’re building at WhatsApp. While end-to-end encryption is the foundation to ensure your calls and messages are secure, we continue to add more layers of privacy on top”.

The ability to silence unknown numbers will be an option appearing to users under WhatsApp’s privacy settings. They will have to toggle the option to select Silence unknown callers. The feature helps screen out spam, scams and other unknown calls “for increased protection”, according to WhatsApp. The calls will not ring on users’ phones but will be visible in their call logs afterwards.

The privacy check-up feature is a step-by-step guide for users on choosing their preferred protection options. It can be accessed by clicking Start checkup in the privacy settings.

In recent months, WhatsApp has introduced other similar privacy-oriented features such as disappearing messages.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.