WhatsApp Tests Phone Number Privacy Feature for Community Members

Ashton Clark


WhatsApp Tests Phone Number Privacy Feature for Community Members

WhatsApp, the popular Meta-owned instant messaging app, is reportedly testing a new privacy-enhancing feature. This feature, referred to as "phone number privacy", is designed to enable users to hide their phone numbers while participating in community chats. Currently being tested by Android and iOS beta users, the new feature lets users engage in discussions and respond to messages without revealing their identities or contact numbers to other community participants. An official release date for the feature has not yet been announced by WhatsApp.

According to a report by WhatsApp feature tracker WABetainfo, the phone number privacy feature has been released for community testing to all Android and iOS beta testers. The feature is reportedly available with WhatsApp beta for Android version and iOS beta version, respectively. Presently, while the community participants list is hidden in the community announcement group, any user interaction with messages can reveal their phone number. This new feature aims to keep user contact numbers hidden, even when users react to messages.

The WABetainfo report also included a screenshot of the phone number privacy feature at work in community chats, providing a glimpse of what it might look like once it is rolled out to a wider audience. The feature can be accessed from the 'Community announcement group info'. In the process of enabling this feature, WhatsApp alerts users that their phone numbers will remain hidden to other community members, except for the community admin and those who have already saved their contact numbers.

This privacy feature, however, is only applicable to community members. The phone numbers of community admins will remain visible. Moreover, users will also have the ability to selectively share their phone numbers with specific community members as per their preferences. This function provides greater control over privacy settings, allowing users to decide who can view their contact details.

Despite the initial beta release, WhatsApp has not officially announced the feature's rollout. As is common with testing phases, the feature may undergo changes before its final release. Users who are interested in testing the phone number privacy feature can do so by downloading the latest build of WhatsApp from Google Play, Apple Store, or the TestFlight app.