WhatsApp could block your Group Chat if it has an ill-advised name. WhatsApp is banning users from using malicious or suspicious words in their group chat names, according to Reddit users.
A thread on the hugely-popular social news website suggests that WhatsApp monitors the phrases used to name group conversation in its app to guard against people leveraging the app for nefarious purposes, like drug smuggling, spam, and child abuse.
One user claims to have changed the name of a group chat with University friends to something that was indicative of child abuse.
Following the change, the group chat was removed from the app. According to the Reddit user, members of the group were “banned” from WhatsApp for a short while after the name change.
“The entire group got banned. It’s the 3rd time that this idiot does this. 2 more groups got banned today because of this,” the Reddit user bemoans.
According to a white paper published by WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned app attempts to stop its service being used in illegal activities by monitoring the parts of the chat app that aren’t encrypted. WhatsApp was one of the first to introduce end-to-end encryption – locking away the content of text messages, photos, videos, and more so that only you and the recipient can see the content. Anything intercepted between the two devices cannot be read by bad actors.
However, the white paper, which was published back in February, reveals that one of the methods used by WhatsApp to fight exploitative child content is to scan unencrypted photos – like those used to illustrate group chats – as well as group information.
“We rely on advanced machine learning technology to evaluate group information to identify and ban members of groups suspected of sharing Child Exploitative Imagery (CEI),” WhatsApp confirmed on its blog.
If you were’t aware of this measure, it’s probably worth having a rethink of who in your group chat is able to modify the group description, group photo and, most importantly of all, the title of the group. Getting banned from WhatsApp for a week could be devastating, especially if it’s your primary method of communicating with close friends and family. Businesses are increasingly turning to WhatsApp – and WhatsApp Business – to reach customers.
Since the ban excludes you based on your mobile number, it could stop you using WhatsApp Business too.
So, it’s best to avoid such problematic group names. And miles easier than contacting WhatsApp support and trying to convince them that your group chat was victim of a really un-funny, immature prank by someone that you really should’ve ditched from your Contacts app back at University, but is inexplicably still in your group chats.