WhatsApp requests Google to remove group chat links

By VARINDIA - 2021-01-12

WhatsApp requests Google to remove group chat links

WhatsApp has said that they have asked Google not to index chats and advised users not to share group chat links on publicly accessible websites. Google had indexed invite links to private WhatsApp group chats, meaning anyone can join various private chat groups with a simple search. The indexed WhatsApp group chat links have now been removed from Google.

 

Independent cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia has shared screenshots with IANS showing indexing of WhatsApp group chat invites on Google.

 

According to a WhatsApp spokesperson, "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.”

 

In February last year, the issue was first cropped up when app reverse-engineer Jane Wong found that Google has around 470,000 results for a simple search of "chat.whatsapp.com", part of the URL that makes up invites to WhatsApp groups.

 

Journalist Jordan Wildon also discovered that WhatsApp's "Invite to Group Link" feature lets Google index groups, making them available across the internet since the links are being shared outside of WhatsApp's secure private messaging service.

 

Danny Sullivan, Google's public search liaison, had tweeted earlier, "Search engines like Google & others list pages from the open web. That's what's happening here. It's no different than any case where a site allows URLs to be publicly listed. We do offer tools allowing sites to block content being listed in our results."


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