The giant social messaging app ‘WhatsApp’ is again got into the headlines of news channels. At the current moment, WhatsApp has reportedly suspected of allowing private groups details on the Google search results. Details like profile pictures, phone numbers can be easily accessible just by a Google search.
Cybersecurity research Rajashekhar from Gadgets360 discovered that WhatsApp is again making several private groups publicly visible over the internet. Back in 2019, the entire thing happened and got resolved after excessive coverage from news outlets. However, the researcher once again noticed the exact thing where private groups’ information is getting indexed in the search results, but the user profiles too.
According to him, WhatsApp is not using the ‘noindex’ metatag in the robots.txt file of chat.whatsapp.com subdomain & as per Google, not using the ‘noindex’ tag allows the search engine to index the content. And apart from chat.whatsapp.com, there is again no ‘noindex’ tag in the robots.txt file of api.whatsapp.com that indexed the WhatsApp user profiles including display profile, About and their phone numbers.
Even the private WhatsApp group invites are getting indexed in the search engine. As per the source’s details, WhatsApp groups sharing pornography and other regional interests have appeared publicly over the Google results.
WhatsApp has not given any public statement yet over the whole indexing issue. Even if searching the country codes over the WhatsApp domain, user profiles are seen along with their profile pictures and phone number. Over 5000 public user-profiles and 1500 WhatsApp private group links have been discovered on the Google search engine.
“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 not to 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 shared in searchable, public channels, invite other WhatsApp users can find links posted publicly on the internet. Links that users wish to share privately with people they know and trust should not be posted on a publicly accessible website.” – WhatsApp spokesperson (Source: Gadgets360)
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