wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

, ,

Private WhatsApp group links were exposed on Google search results: Report

WhatsApp, Threema

Links to private WhatsApp group chats have been indexed on Google search results, the Indian Express reported. The exposure was surfaced by security researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia on Twitter. All Rajaharia had to do to extract a seemingly endless list of private WhatsApp group links was to look up “site:chat.whatsapp.com”. Adding India’s STD code (+91) to the search query resulted in India-specific groups being exposed.

The search query appears to no longer elicit any results, though. WhatsApp said in a statement:

“Since March 2020, WhatsApp has included the “noindex” tag on all deep link pages which, according to Google, will exclude them from indexing. We have given our feedback to Google to not index these chats. As a reminder, whenever someone joins a group, everyone in that group receives a notice and the admin can revoke or change the group invite link at any time. Like all content that is shared in searchable, public channels, invite links that are posted publicly on the internet can be found by other WhatsApp users. Links that users wish to share privately with people they know and trust should not be posted on a publicly accessible website.” — WhatsApp spokesperson

The exposure was nevertheless startling, seeing how it appears to have indexed, for the better part of 2020, a number of group joining links. Such links, once shared, can allow any user to hop into a WhatsApp group immediately, without requiring approval from the group’s members or administrators. WhatsApp’s statement seems to indicate that users’ behaviour and Google’s less-than-stringent compliance with its wishes are more responsible for publicly searchable group links than its own lack of active oversight on a multi-billion-strong platform.

The messaging app is currently embroiled in a debate surrounding changes to its privacy policy and terms & conditions, which open the door to integrate Facebook’s other services more deeply with the messaging app, a prospect that worries some. A few users have moved to other non-profit or smaller alternatives, like Signal and Telegram. Shortly after Elon Musk appeared to become the richest person in the world, he used his newfound burst in popularity to promote Signal, which was inundated with so many new sign-ups that it was briefly struggling to send out one-time passcodes via SMS to register new users.

Also read

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Written By

I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

Views

News

The Delhi High Court should quash the government's order to block Tanul Thakur's website in light of the Shreya Singhal verdict by the Supreme...

News

Releasing the policy is akin to putting the proverbial 'cart before the horse'.

News

The industry's growth is being weighed down by taxation and legal uncertainty.

News

Due to the scale of regulatory and technical challenges, transparency reporting under the IT Rules has gotten off to a rocky start.

News

Here are possible reasons why Indians are not generating significant IAP revenues despite our download share crossing 30%.

You May Also Like

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ