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WhatsApp private groups appear on Google search again

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WhatsApp said that they have asked Google not to index such chats and advised users not to share group chat links on publicly accessible websites

WhatsApp private groups have once again started surfacing on Google search results due to indexing by the search engine giant, cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia has pointed out.
The issue of private WhatsApp groups surfacing on Google search results had first cropped up in November 2019 after it was noticed by a security researcher. The issue was resolved thereafter in February 2020.

“Your @WhatsApp groups may not be as secure as you think they are. WhatsApp Group Chat Invite Links, User Profiles Made Public Again on @Google Again,” Rajaharia posted on his Twitter account.

“Whatsapp also allows users to generate rich preview links of group chat invites that eventually may allow search engine crawlers to identify the links and then index them for future searches. This issue was apparently fixed by Whatsapp last year after becoming public,” he noted.

Rajaharia also stated that WhatsApp removed all of its group invite and profile links from Google Search.

WhatsApp said that they have asked Google not to index such chats and advised users not to share group chat links on publicly accessible websites.

“Since March 2020, WhatsApp has included the “noindex” tag on all deep link pages which, according to Google, will exclude them from indexing. We have given our feedback to Google to not index these chats. As a reminder, whenever someone joins a group, everyone in that group receives a notice and the admin can revoke or change the group invite link at any time,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

“Like all content that is shared in searchable, public channels, invite links that are posted publicly on the internet can be found by other WhatsApp users. Links that users wish to share privately with people they know and trust should not be posted on a publicly accessible website.”
WhatsApp has come under fire from users globally ever since it published its new privacy policy which will come into effect from 8th February. Concerned about the privacy issue, many WhatsApp users have migrated to other messaging apps like Signal and Telegram.
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