WhatsApp updates its abuse report mechanism: Details here

WhatsApp is the most widely used messaging service in the world, and WhatsApp abuse is a serious issue on the platform, as is the case with every service that has a large number of users from around the world. With over 2 billion active users,  However, in the case of WhatsApp, the problem is further compounded by the fact that the service is protected with end-to-end encryption, which also ensures user safety on the platform.

In the latest WhatsApp update, changes have been made to the app that will send a certain number of messages from a chat or group to the company when it is reported by a user. In order to protect users’ privacy while allowing for a mechanism to report unwanted contact or a breach of the company’s terms of service, this WhatsApp update introduced a feature last year that would forward a few of the most recent messages to the company after a report was received.

Now, the company has begun informing users that the last five messages will be sent to the company when a chat is reported. This will show up for any Whatsapp chat, group, or business that a user chooses to report, and could help the company establish the authenticity of the report.

The change was spotted by feature leaker WABetaInfo, on the latest beta version of WhatsApp for Android and it now clarifies the exact amount of messages that will be sent to WhatsApp. Last year, the leaker had revealed that the company would also take into account the number of reports received for a particular phone number from different users, if the account was newly created, or if it had pending reports against it. The company can then take action against the account or dispose of the report, based on the messages.

This is similar to the way Secret Conversations (which are also end-to-end encrypted) are investigated on Facebook Messenger. While the service sending the last five messages along with a user report might alarm some users, it is worth noting that WhatsApp never receives messages from a user unless they report a contact. This means that messages from one user to another should continue to remain end-to-end encrypted to protect the privacy of users.

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