Careful! WhatsApp may have exposed phone numbers on Google
It seems that the problems with WhatsApp are not ending, adding to the dissatisfaction of users. Following allegations that it has released chat groups, it is suspected that WhatsApp has also exposed users' phone numbers in Google Search through indexing.
A few days ago it was reported that WhatsApp groups have appeared in Google Search, which means that anyone could find the group and join. According to security expert Rajshekhar Rajaria, the phone numbers of WhatsApp internet users have been displayed in Google Search. WhatsApp is a mobile application but can also be used on laptops and PCs.
"The leak is happening through WhatsApp Web. If someone is using WhatsApp on a laptop or office computer, mobile numbers are being indexed in Google Search. These are individual users' mobile numbers, not business numbers," Rajaharia told IANS. He says this is alarming because many people access WhatsApp from their laptops and PCs.
Following the publication of the case with chat groups, Google decided to eliminate them, but for millions of users, they became exposed.
"Despite WhatsApp advising users and asking Google to remove previous group chat links, mobile numbers through the WhatsApp Web application are now being indexed in Google Search."
Officials from WhatsApp have reacted to the case through a statement:
As of March 2020, WhatsApp has included "no index" tagging on all link sites that Google will exclude from indexing. "As a reminder, every time someone joins a group, everyone in that group receives a notification and the administrator may or may not revoke the invitation at any time."
Many WhatsApp users have decided to leave and open a similar app called Signal as they feel that their privacy has been compromised.