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Whatsapp rolls out Call Silencing to combat spam calls in India

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WhatsApp, the popular chat app with over 500 million users in India, has launched a new feature to automatically silence calls from unknown numbers in response to numerous complaints from customers in India regarding an increase in spam calls over the past few months.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook (Whatsapp’s parent company), announced the call silencing feature alongside a new privacy checkup option. According to Zuckerberg, users can not enable the option to automatically silence incoming calls from unknown contacts on Whatsapp, providing them with enhanced privacy and control.

To activate this feature, users can navigate to Settings > Privacy > Calls > Silence unknown caller. While calls from unknown numbers will be silenced, they will still appear in notifications and the app’s call list. This allows users to check later if the call was from someone they know but have not saved their numbers in their contacts.

The Call Silencing feature will be useful in curbing the menace of spam calls. | Source: Whatsapp

When receiving a call from an unknown number, users will see the number displayed on their phone along with the message “silenced unknown number”.

In addition to the call silencing feature, Whatsapp has introduced a privacy checkup option in the Privacy section. This checkup guides users through various steps to familiarise them with different privacy controls, such as managing who can contact them, controlling personal information, enhancing privacy in chats, and bolstering account protection.

Users can customise settings like enabling two-factor authentication, determining who can add them to groups, setting disappearing message timers, and controlling the visibility of their profile pictures.

Last month, Whatsapp implemented backend updates aimed at reducing spam calls for its Indian users. By leveraging machine learning-based detection capabilities, the company expects these nuisance calls to decrease by approximately 50%.

Just last month, Whatsapp introduced a Chat Lock feature to password-protect conversations. This month, Whatsapp released Channels, the most awaited one-to-many broadcast feature in select countries.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: