Two years ago when I received that invite ( and kept receiving until I went to App Store and downloaded it) whatsapp remained a mystery to me. Chat? On phone? Well, I can still dial. A ‘hey’ from a friend was most often rewarded with a spoken ‘hello’. Not that I received many ‘hey’s though.
Soon I discovered the power of group chats. Just 15 girls (uh… Women) could cook up 200 messages within the hour. But then school friends are school friends. Family members joined in and innovative good morning to good night pics inundated my phone. I started keeping my groups on mute. Jokes that ran longer than three screen scrolls (yes, I own one of those primitive puny phones) ended up in my ‘ignore’ bucket. Unread messages more than 5 in number were heartlessly made to vanish.
Then one day….
Well, I woke up and as usual pulled my phone out from under my pillow (uh… yeah, none of those fwds warning me about impending meteor strikes that could make my phone transmit harmful rays into my brain made me change this habit). Whatsapp was already open. Uh … Yeah I checked it last before I went to skepp …. Or did I check while I slept?? The first thing I notice is an unfamiliar group. I immediately open it to mark it as spam. I didn’t ask to be added anywhere. I needed no more groups. 25 are enough! Huh… What? No option to mark as ‘Spam’? Who created the group I wonder? Who added me? Someone from my contacts? I scroll up – an unknown creator. Me… Confused… So who added me? Same unknown number. Who is this person? I check out the members list and although find some numbers from my contacts there – that unknown number has disappeared. WHAT? I check back. Yes, that creator has exited the group. What the hell? Did my contact list get hacked? Did someone else’s get hacked? The first thing I do is exit the group and block that unknown number. This was too fishy to stay put. I even remove my DP.
Further research (thanks to true caller and Google) reports the number belonging to a certain well-known ‘ethical’ hacker. I had heard this guy speak before – when he was a young lad of 18. He had then left a lasting impression on me. This time, though, I felt disgusted. How did this celebrity catch hold of these 100’s of numbers and created a group? To what purpose, considering that he exited it later with no explanation whatsoever? This is not the first time I was added to a group without my consent. But in all of those instances, the purpose was marketing, the numbers had a numerical pattern and I had the option of reporting a spam. Here none of these deemed fit.
Whatsapp is slowly becoming a nuisance of sorts. Why can’t there be controls, esp. over making groups? On the contrary, whatsapp has been increasing the number of members that can be added – currently standing at 256. Do you also find this irritating and in dire need of control?