In a bid to tackle the growing nuisance of spam calls, WhatsApp has unveiled a new feature called “Silence Unknown Callers.” This innovative addition aims to protect users from unsolicited calls by redirecting them and displaying the numbers in the call list. With this release, WhatsApp is taking a proactive step towards safeguarding its users’ communication experience.
Silence Unknown Callers: A Shield Against Unwanted Calls
WhatsApp has introduced the “Silence Unknown Callers” feature, which is set to revolutionize call management. By activating this feature, users can automatically screen out spam, scams, and calls from unfamiliar individuals. The company rolled out this feature globally on Tuesday, addressing the growing concern of unwanted calls and messages from unknown numbers.
Battling Spam Calls: A Growing Problem in India
According to a 2021 Truecaller report (by Reuters), WhatsApp users in India have been significantly affected by spam calls, receiving an average of around 17 such calls per month. This alarming statistic highlights the urgent need for an effective solution to curb the rising influx of unwanted communication.
Meta’s Response: Enhancing Protection and Control
In response to escalating complaints about spam calls, Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, has taken decisive action. The newly introduced Silence Unknown Callers feature aims to enhance protection and control over incoming calls. Instead of ringing on WhatsApp, unknown calls are redirected to the user’s call list, allowing them to identify missed calls that may have been mistakenly classified as spam.
Privacy Checkup: Strengthening Message Security
In conjunction with Silence Unknown Callers, Meta has launched Privacy Checkup. This comprehensive tool guides users through steps to secure their messages, calls, and personal information. By enabling users to take control of their privacy settings, WhatsApp and Meta aim to provide a safer and more secure messaging experience.
The Rise of International Spam Calls
Recent months have witnessed a surge in spam calls originating from international numbers. Notably, area codes +251 (Ethiopia), +60 (Malaysia), +62 (Indonesia), +254 (Kenya), and +84 (Vietnam) have been frequently associated with spam calls. The influx of such calls has prompted action to protect users from potential scams and fraudulent activities.
FTC Reports: Scams on the Rise
In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported an alarming increase in fraudulent activities. The top five scams identified by the FTC included online shopping scams, fake business and job opportunities, investment schemes, and deceptive prize offers. Last year alone, the FTC received approximately 2.4 million fraud reports, with Americans losing an estimated $8.8 billion—an increase of 30% compared to 2021.
India’s Response: Demanding Accountability
Concerned by the rising tide of spam calls, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s Minister of State for IT, expressed his intention to address the issue. He emphasized that platforms like WhatsApp bear the responsibility for openness, trust, safety, and accountability in delivering a secure digital experience to Indian citizens.
Meta’s Commitment: A Safer Experience
Meta is confident that the implementation of these security features will substantially reduce the prevalence of spam calls. By leveraging its technological prowess, Meta aims to control and minimize the current incidence of spam calls, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable experience for WhatsApp users worldwide.