The issue has already arisen, so this is not new. In 2019, it was discovered that private WhatsApp group chat connections might be searched on Google. Because the group chat links were indexed by the messaging behemoth. This indicates that if you share a group invite on a public site, Google will index the link and display it in search results. By adding the noindex tag to all deep link pages, WhatsApp fixed the issue. Consequently, links from your private group chats shouldn’t show up in Google searches.
However, they did once more appear alongside user profiles in search results (and their phone numbers). The group invite links were discovered for the first time by cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia, and they appear to have only lately begun to index. He found that more than 1500 group invitations could be found on Google. Many of these links take the user to websites that share pornographic or adult material. Additionally, one could use Google to look up user profiles, which would give contact information and profile images.
Your @WhatsApp groups may not be as secure as you think they are. WhatsApp Group Chat Invite Links, User Profiles Made Public Again on @Google Again.
Story https://t.co/GK2KrCtm8J#Infosec #Privacy #Whatsapp #infosecurity #CyberSecurity #GDPR #DataSecurity #dataprotection pic.twitter.com/7PvLYuM9xD
Rajshekhar Rajaharia (@rajaharia) January 10, 2021
How was Google still indexing the group links if WhatsApp had already fixed this problem? Gadgets 360 cited Rajaharia as saying that the messaging behemoth left off the robots.txt file for the chat.whatsapp.com domain. This file provides search engine crawlers with instructions on which links to index or not.
The communications behemoth has responded quickly to address the problem. Google no longer displays the user profiles and group chat links that were discovered to have been indexed over the weekend. This assertion has been independently verified. The Facebook-owned business has released an official statement recommending users not to post links to private group chats on any open Internet platform. Additionally, WhatsApp has once more requested that Google stop indexing user profiles or links to group invites in the future.
The WhatsApp representative continued: “Links that users prefer to share privately with persons they know and trust should not be posted on a publicly accessible website.” Additionally, if you are a group administrator and observe a random individual entering the conversation, you may always ban them and remove older group invite links.