Tag: whatsapp

WhatsApp groups to get big updates

By Hanno Labuschagne for MyBroadband

WhatsApp has started rolling out an update that will allow users to create groups with up to double the previous number of maximum participants.

The feature was previously only available to a limited set of users running beta versions of the Android, iOS, and web apps but is being rolled out gradually over 24 hours.

Instead of the usual 256 members, group creators will now be able to add up to 512 members.

To see if the new cap is already available on your device, select the three-dot menu from the main WhatsApp interface and choose “Create Group”.

Once you have chosen one contact to add to the group, WhatsApp will show how many more you can add at the top of the screen.

WhatsApp’s cap on group participants has left a gap for rival apps like Telegram.

With Telegram’s groups supporting up to 200,000 members, they are ideal for community watch groups and large events with numerous attendees.

But the world’s biggest messaging service could soon plug that hole, with an overhaul for groups expected to release soon.

WhatsApp will allow users to create a larger Community group that can hold various sub-groups.

Admins can add existing groups to a Community and unlink them as required.

Only Community admins will be able to send messages to all Community members. These messages will be available under an announcement group for the community.

WhatsApp has not revealed what its new group member limit would be once the Communities feature launches.

While it started testing the feature in Argentina in March 2022, it has not revealed its global launch date.

Do more with your WhatsApp channel

By Ryan Falkenberg, co-CEO of CLEVVA

Digital customer service channels have evolved rapidly over the past two years, prompted by work from home and lockdown requirements. Part of this evolution has been the much stronger emergence of WhatsApp as a customer service channel.

The advantage of WhatsApp over other channels is that you and the customer have a record of the conversation, and you can also pick up and go back to it asynchronously. Your customer chat in your online banking app, for example, will time out. So, if you get called away for any reason you need to start again, and there is no record for you to refer back to.

The real win for unassisted customer service will come when a bot can handle the entire query from end to end. I can ask the bot for information, to perform actions and to give me assistance and advice.

At present, if I want a query resolved via the WhatsApp channel, I will most likely be transferred to a live agent. And given that most service interactions are not simple requests for information or action, this means most WhatsApp engagements still need to be completed by a live person. This undermines the whole concept of ‘digital self-service’ and creates deep customer frustration.

Fortunately, there are now bots that are capable of handling queries via multiple digital channels without relying on live agents. These service bots are far more capable than the early generation information and transactional chatbots. Their logic can handle the complex advisory-level logic required to clarify, analyse, resolve and action customer service queries in one touch.

They can also engage with customers via multiple digital self-service channels, like the web, mobile apps, e-mail and WhatsApp. To do this, they offer responsive hybrid interfaces that offer the rich canvas of a web app, the free text inputs of chat and the structured conversation logic required for rule-driven query resolution.

As a result, service bots are making it possible to offer customers access to a digital expert at their fingertips. They don’t need to wait for a live agent to get a query resolved via the digital self-service channels. Instead, they can engage with a service specialist that never sleeps, and is capable of handling all known queries in context, and without having to put them on hold.

Facebook lost R40k per second during outage

By Breanna Robinson for Indy 100

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp all went down on Monday – and it cost Mark Zuckerberg’s company an eye-watering amount every minute.

Unresponsive feeds on these platforms first occurred shortly after noon eastern time, with people facing error pages.

On Monday, YouTuber and podcaster Chris Williamson took to his Twitter to pose the following question about the platform’s earnings: “Can anyone estimate how much money Facebook will be losing per minute while all sites are down?”

In response to this tweet, Twitter account @whatdope offered this estimated amount:

“Last year’s ad revenue (for Facebook’s sites) was $84.2bn. So, for every minute it’s down, they’re losing around $160,000. Or, $2,670 per second,” they wrote.

Fortune also estimated that, as of the time the company announced it was coming back online, Facebook would have lost around $99.75 million in revenue.

The site based the figure on Facebook’s second quarter earnings, which saw revenue of $29.08 billion over a 91-day period. That works out an average of $319.6 million per day or $13.3-million per hour.

That’s a lot of money.

When the outage happened, Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesperson, posted a comment on Twitter apologising for the inconvenience of the app.

“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience,” Stone said in the statement.

Instagram and Twitter also took to their Twitter accounts to update people about the issue.

The widespread disruption was blamed on a “faulty configuration change”, with Facebook saying in a statement: “Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication.

“This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centres communicate, bringing our services to a halt.”

Facebook also experienced a significant 14-hour outage in 2019 that cost roughly $90 million.

According to a study by Gartner in 2014, the “average cost of downtime is $5,600 per minute”.

The research organisation also noted that this is also isn’t an exact science as there are multiple factors to consider, such as the size of the company and the company’s catered niche or market.

In 2016, the Ponemon Institute published a report that raised Gartner’s average from $5,600 and close to $9,000 per minute.

By BR Reporter

Telecommunication company Telkom has announced that it launched Mastercard virtual cards to be used on WhatsApp for its Telkom Pay customers enabling them to make e-commerce payments.

Telkom Pay is a digital payments wallet that enables its users to make and receive payments using WhatsApp on their mobile phones.

The virtual card to Telkom Pay will enable users to make payments to local and global online merchants that accept Mastercard, including Uber and Netflix.

According to Telkom, this move will empower millions of South Africans, even those without a bank account – to access the digital economy and transact online.

Telkom Financial Services managing executive Sibusiso Ngwenya said: “We are proud to lead the way in launching the first virtual card through WhatsApp on the continent. This ensures greater financial inclusion through affordable products and services that cater to everyone and are easily accessible through a mobile device at any time.”

The company said its move to bring virtual cards into its Telkom Pay WhatsApp service resulted from a close partnership with Mastercard,Nedbank, and leading fintech enablement partner, Ukheshe Technologies.

Mastercard, South Africa country manager Suzanne Morel said: “The expansion of Telkom Pay’s services is an important step forward in improving access to the digital economy. South Africans are increasingly shopping online, yet many people are left out as they lack the financial tools needed for e-commerce.

“This digital-first solution bridges the divide by giving consumers instant access to a virtual payment solution through WhatsApp, without compromising the safety and security of transactions. Together with our partners, we are helping more people to benefit from the choice and flexibility that a growing, inclusive digital economy brings.”

According to the company, the virtual card solution is available on the Telkom Pay app, and customers can temporarily block, cancel or replace their card via the app, providing them with additional security and control.

Ukheshe CEO Clayton Hayward said: “We are thrilled to assist Telkom in making new, innovative products possible, and look forward to continuing our journey of supporting clients in their efforts to offer cutting-edge payment solutions to people who need them most.”

 

Look out for this WhatsApp phishing scam

Source: Roodepoort Record

Take extra caution when you use your WhatsApp, as a phishing scam on the app is allegedly making the rounds.

According to Honeydew CPF, scammers pretend to be a friend or family member and send a reset code to your phone, and in turn say they need the code urgently. Public relations officer for the Honeydew CPF, Michael Steyn said, “The request will come from a friend/ family member’s WhatsApp and it will look very legit.”

He warned users not to share the six-digit code, saying, “The code is actually your WhatsApp account. If you do send it they will simply hack you and you will have no access to your account. They will then follow the same process and pretend to be you when contacting your friends.” He added that the objective of this scam is unknown, but a few residents have already fallen victim to it.

The police describe phishing scams as methods to deceitfully obtain information such as passwords, identity numbers and credit cards by calling, sending emails or cellphone messages that look like they come from trusted sources.

Keep the following in mind regarding your internet activity or personal information:

• Never respond to emails or cellphone messages appearing to be from your bank, which request your personal details. Remember that no bank will ever ask you to confirm or update your account details by email.
• Never provide your online ID, password or PIN to anyone, and never write them down or share them.
• Do not save your internet banking password on your desktop.
• Do not leave your computer unattended after you have entered your internet banking password.
• Always log off or sign off at the end of a session.
• Avoid doing internet banking in public areas such as internet cafés, or on any computer that can be accessed by people you do not know.
• Change your PIN and passwords frequently.
• Put sensible transaction limits on your accounts.
• Only provide your credit card details to reputable companies.
• If it looks too good to be true, it usually is.
• NEVER send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.

 

By Wesley Diphoko for IOL

WhatsApp users have until the 15th May 2021 to accept the latest privacy policy update that requires sharing data with Facebook companies.

Failure to do so will no longer lead to the deactivation of your account as Facebook has backtracked on a previous decision that gave its users an ultimatum to accept sharing their data with Facebook if they want to continue using their account or, as an alternative, to delete their accounts.

This time around failure to accept the privacy policy that will enable sharing data with Facebook will lead to limited functionality of your WhatsApp account.

Initially, having failed to accept the policy users won’t be able to access their chat list, but they will still be able to answer the incoming phone and video calls.

After a few weeks of limited functionality, users won’t be able to receive incoming calls or notifications, and eventually, WhatsApp will stop sending messages and calls to your phone.

If you decide to move away from WhatsApp, the platform will enable you to move your chat history to another platform.

It is also important to note that the upcoming update is not about changing the privacy of your personal conversations. This change will mainly apply to chats with businesses.

The Facebook-owned chat platform insists that communication between people will remain private. It also reminds users that chatting with businesses will be optional.

This comes at a time when leading tech companies such as Apple are spearheading privacy as a business strategy and a value system. Apple has introduced a new operating system that will enable users to choose whether they want to be tracked by companies like Facebook.

The Zuckerberg-led social network on the other hand has waged a months-long campaign against Apple, running full-page ads in national newspapers and testing pop-ups inside the Facebook app to encourage users to accept its tracking. It’s also alleged that Apple’s changes are designed to help the iPhone maker’s own business, rather than protect consumer privacy.

 

By Zoe Kleinman for BBC

Message platforms Signal and Telegram have both seen a huge surge in downloads around the world following a controversial update to WhatsApp’s terms and conditions.

WhatsApp has told its two billion users they must allow it to share data with its parent company Facebook if they wish to continue using it.

This does not apply to users in the UK and Europe.

However, the notification has been sent to everyone.

All WhatsApp users will be unable to continue with the service unless they accept the new terms by 8 February. The platform said the update will enable it to offer features such as shopping and payments.

It also said its practice of sharing data with Facebook was not new.

WhatsApp and Facebook to share data outside Europe
Both Telegram and Signal also offer free-to-use encrypted messaging services.

Signal strength
According to data from analytics firm Sensor Tower, Signal was downloaded globally 246,000 times the week before WhatsApp announced the change on 4 January, and 8.8 million times the week after.

This included big surges in India, where downloads went from 12,000 to 2.7 million, the UK (from 7,400 to 191,000) and the US (63,000 to 1.1 million).

In a series of tweets, Signal said some people were reporting issues with creating groups and delays to verification codes arriving because of the rapid expansion but that it was solving the issues.

“Our new servers are ready to serve you,” it said on 10 January.

It also received endorsement from Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, who tweeted “use Signal” on 7 January.

Telegram soars
Telegram has proved even more popular, with downloads booming globally from 6.5 million for the week beginning 28 December to 11 million over the following week.

In the UK, downloads went from 47,000 to 101,000. And in the US they went from 272,000 to 671,000.

During the same period, WhatsApp’s global downloads shrank from 11.3 million to 9.2 million.

Even so, one industry watcher said he did not think this necessarily represented a big problem for WhatsApp, which has been downloaded 5.6 billion times since its launch in 2014.

“It’s going to be difficult for rivals to break user habits, and WhatsApp will continue to be one of the world’s most popular and widely used messaging platforms,” said Craig Chapple, mobile insights strategist at Sensor Tower.

“It’ll be interesting to see whether this latest trend sticks, or users revert back to what they know.”

WhatsApp has said the data it shares with its parent company does not include messages, groups or call logs.

However, it does include:

  • Phone number and other information provided on registration (such as name)
  • Information about the user’s phone, including make, model, and mobile company
  • Internet protocol (IP) addresses, which indicate the location of a user’s internet connections
  • Any payments and financial transactions made over WhatsApp

It said its policies were in line with “applicable” privacy laws.

 

When work WhatsApps cross the line

Almost all of us belong to some kind of WhatsApp or other group chat for work purposes. However, cyber sexual harassment in the new world of work is becoming an increasing threat, says Phetheni Nkuna of Cliffe Decker Hoffmeyer.

Group and individual chats may become an uncomfortable – and litigious – place.

Inappropriate messages sent between employees include:

  • Repeatedly texting a co-worker to ask them out
  • Making fun of a person (body shaming) in a group email or WhatsApp group chat
  • Posting or sending a sexually offensive meme to a workplace collaboration app (Slack, Google Hangouts), WhatsApp, Teams, Zoom or email
  • Posting or sending a lewd and/or sexually offensive GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
  • Sharing personally identifying information about someone, either to embarrass/humiliate them, or cause them to fear for their safety, with sexual undertones
  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment – sex for jobs, benefits or some other benefit.

Employers are liable

Nkuna said that sexual harassment is covered by a number of pieces of legislation in South Africa, including section 6 of the Employment Equity Act which defines sexual harassment as a form of discrimination.

Employers should:

  • Take all reasonable and practical steps to ensure that employees do not commit any act of sexual harassment
  • Provide safe and healthy working environment. Confirmed in J v M Ltd [1989] 10 ILJ 755 (IC) that employers have a duty to ensure that employees are not subject to any form of sexual harassment
  • Beware that employees may sue an employer as a result of allegations that the employer did not deal with sexual harassment complaints in a proper fashion

 

WhatsApp photos, videos could self-destruct soon

Source: Business Insider SA

WhatsApp could soon include an option to send a video or photo that will disappear after it was viewed once.

According to the authoritative blog WABetaInfo, which tracks the development of new WhatsApp functions, the image will expire as soon as the recipient viewed the video, GIF or photo, and leaves the chat.

WABetaInfo became aware of the planned function when it analysed the WhatsApp 2.20.201.6 beta update for Android, which was released recently and includes references for a new feature called “Expiring Media”.

WABetaInfo believes the new function will probably called “View Once”, which was how a new button on the latest update was tagged.

Users will be able to choose to send an “expiring” image, video or GIF to a contact, which can only be viewed once by the recipient.

If the recipient takes a screen grab of the image, it remains unclear whether the sender will be notified, reports the social media information hub Social Barrel .

The wildly popular social media platform Snapchat, which pioneered self-destructing messages, currently offers this functionality.

Snapchat will notify a user when another user has taken a screenshot of their photo, video, chat conversation, or Snapchat story.

“Expiring” messages will appear in a different way in the conversation, so you can easily understand that the image is going to expire, says WABetaInfo. The platform also reported that WhatsApp is planning to add a new security feature which will require fingerprints to view messages.

Both of the planned new features are still under development, with no launch date specified.

 

New WhatsApp feature to debunk fake news

By Marco Cocomello for Glitched

WhatsApp is releasing a new feature that lets users quickly search the contents of a viral message to fact-check for fake news. The company announced that starting today, a magnifying glass icon will appear next to messages that have been forwarded through a chain of more than five people. Tapping this icon searches the message’s contents online and will reveal any common conspiracy theories or fake information the message may hide.

WhatsApp claims this new search feature uses advanced algorithms to help debunk any fake news you may receive. The company shared an example of a message sent to users claiming that “drinking freshly boiled garlic water will cure COVID-19”. The magnifying glass search brings up three fact-checking websites which flag the claim as fake news.

If privacy is your concern then don’t worry. WhatsApp claims that the feature works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser. In addition, WhatsApp never sees the message itself. It is simply directed towards fact-checking sites. The search works the same way a private browsing session would.

The new WhatsApp fact-checking feature is rolling out today. It may take some time to arrive in SA. So far, the feature is available in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, the UK and the US. Users need to update their app in order to make use of the new feature. Keep in mind that the magnifying icon will not appear unless that said text has been forwarded to more than five people.

This new feature is just another step Facebook is taking to prevent false information spreading through the app. Earlier this year, WhatsApp announced it would limit the number of people you can forward texts to. This was also to help stop the spread of fake news. It is unclear whether or not the change helped in any way.

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