Groups were appearing on Google search. In simple words, anyone surfacing on Google could discover and join a private WhatsApp group just by a simple Google search. All anyone had to do is type the name of the WhatsApp group, and that’s all. Also Read - Beware! New WhatsApp flaw lets anyone suspend your account using your phone number
Back in 2019, when this issue was pointed out for the first time, the messaging had soon fixed it after group details were made public. The same happened this time. Also Read - WhatsApp Desktop, Web keyboard shortcuts for Mac and Windows laptop, PC: Check full list
What WhatsApp said
The messaging platform opens up on the issue. Commenting on the issue WhatsApp spokesperson in a statement to BGR.in said, “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.”
“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,” the platform further said.
Additionally, user profiles were also made available on Google search. This is also an old issue that keeps cropping up every now and then. Just like last time, the issue has been fixed with the hope that it would not happen again. Basically, the issue exposed users’ phone numbers and profile pictures on the web and these details were available to the public with a simple Google search.