Marketing 2 min read

Search Engines Reportedly Index Links to Private Whatsapp Groups

A journalist discovered that links to private WhatsApp Groups are being indexed by search engines. But, it appears that the problem is on WhatsApp's side.

Alex Ruhl / Shutterstock.com

Alex Ruhl / Shutterstock.com

Your WhatsApp groups may not be as secure you imagined.

Last week, a journalist named Jordan Wildon noted that search engines, including Google, are indexing invites to these private groups. Then, Wildon took to Twitter to share his discovery.

The post reads:

“The “Invite to Group via Link” feature allows groups to be indexed by Google, and they are generally available across the internet. With some wildcard search terms, you can easily find some… interesting… groups.”

That means any user can access any link to a WhatsApp group that was shared outside of a private message. Aside from finding these links on the search engine, users can also follow the links to join the group.

Although the indexing of the private WhatsApp group is not a data breach, it still raises privacy issues. This is especially true because users expect their WhatsApp invite links to be private to a certain extent.

It turns out that the search engines may not be to blame.

Google Responds to Indexing Links to WhatsApp Groups

According to Google’s Danny Sullivan, the fact that the links were shared publicly at some point was what led Google to index the content in the search result.

Responding to a Vice post about how Google is letting anyone find WhatsApp link, Sullivan tweeted:

“Search engines like Google & others list pages from the open web. That’s what’s happening here. It’s no different than any case where a site allows URLs to be publicly listed.”

The search liaison for Google also pointed out that specific tools can block content from being listed in search results.

Someone from WhatsApp may have used such a tool to remove thousands of links to WhatsApp from Google. However, these links are still available on other search engines such as Bing, DuckDuckGo, and others.

Search engines will always crawl and index whatever link is available to the public. So, it’s not Google’s fault or any other search engine.

In other words, WhatsApp is to blame for the issue.

Read More: Massive Amount of Disinformation on Bing Search Results Revealed

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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