WhatsApp Introduces Flash Calls, Message Level Reporting Safety Features in India


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WhatsApp has introduced two new safety features in India – flash calls and message level reporting. The latter enables users to report accounts by flagging a specific message. The flash call feature is an addition to the SMS verification option mandated on the registration process on WhatsApp. WhatsApp says that these two features have been introduced to ensure that the user experience remains secure. Apart from end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp offers a slew of safety features like blocking contacts, control over what to share with whom, disappearing messages, and locking the app with Touch ID or Face ID.

The instant messaging app has rolled out flash calls and message level reporting features as part of its efforts to make the platform more secure. The new flash call feature offers users the option to verify their phone number through an automated call, as opposed to an SMS message while setting up WhatsApp on a new phone or re-installing it on a handset. This feature is currently available for Android users only. This path allows WhatsApp to call the phone and verify automatically, eliminating the need for any other SMS verification action. WhatsApp claims that this is a much safer option given that it takes place all from within the app.

As for message level reporting, WhatsApp users can now report accounts to WhatsApp by flagging a specific message. This can be done by simply long pressing a particular message to either report or block a user. In its latest transparency report, WhatsApp says that it banned over 2.2 million accounts in the month of September alone. While most of the accounts banned were due to automated tools kept in place by WhatsApp to trace fishy accounts.

Other safety features introduced by WhatsApp include the ability to control who sees a user profile photo, last seen, about, and Status. It also enables users to block accounts if required. WhatsApp also offers two-step verification to users to add an extra layer of security. For group chats, WhatsApp has group privacy settings that let users control who adds them. The company recently introduced disappearing messages and View Once as well. The latter enables the user to send a photo or video that will disappear on WhatsApp after the recipient has opened it once.

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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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