WhatsApp for Android beta version 2.19.55 is currently testing the upcoming group invitation feature, WAbetainfo reports. The similar feature was earlier spotted on WhatsApp for iOS beta. Therefore, both Android and iOS users will soon have total control over who can add them to WhatsApp groups.
What is WhatsApp's group invitation feature all about, you may ask? The feature makes consent mandatory before anyone can add you to WhatsApp groups. Currently, WhatsApp users have no control over who can add them to WhatsApp groups. Therefore, anyone with your WhatsApp-registered mobile number can add you to any group, without your permission. WhatsApp may be addressing this problem using the group invitation feature.
WhatsApp restricts users from adding enterprise (WhatsApp Business) accounts to WhatsApp groups. It seems like WhatsApp is extending the feature to all users.
WhatsApp group invitation feature is yet to become public. WAbetainfo has shared screenshots of WhatsApp for Android beta. As per these screenshots, WhatsApp will let users customise new Group privacy settings.
Go to WhatsApp > Settings > Privacy. Find the option for Group settings. Once you tap the Group settings, you can decide who you want to be able to add you to WhatsApp groups. You can choose from 'Everyone,' 'My Contacts' and 'Nobody.'
WAbetainfo notes if group admins are not able to add you to WhatsApp groups due to your privacy settings, a separate chat will be created so that you can choose whether you want to join the group. You can choose from 'Accept' or 'Decline' options.
WhatsApp group invitations remain valid only for three days. Therefore, you will have 72 hours to respond when you want to join the group you are invited to. After 72 hours, you will not be able to accept or decline the invitation. If you want to join the group after 72 hours, you will need another invitation or you can use a group invite link (if available).
We don't know yet whether this is going to ne a two-way system in the future. For example, if the group invite link is publicly available and if someone wants to join the group, they can do it easily on their own since there is no admin-approval mechanism. Therefore, group admins have no control if they want someone to be part of the group or not.