WhatsApp is rolling out a feature designed to protect users from unwanted calls on the messaging platform. The Meta-owned app will allow users to simply toggle a setting that will silence calls from spam and nuisance callers. These calls typically come from numbers that are not part of a user’s contact list, and the new feature is designed to prevent calls from unknown numbers from disturbing the user. WhatsApp users who do not enable this setting will hear their phone ring when any other WhatsApp user — including those not in their contact list — calls them using the app.
On Tuesday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that WhatsApp users can now silence incoming calls from unknown contacts. This implies that the feature, which was previously spotted in development, has begun rolling out to all users. Gadgets 360 was able to confirm that the setting was available on the latest stable versions of WhatsApp for Android and iOS.
Users who enable the feature will not be disturbed by calls from unknown contacts, but the messaging app will still display the call in the notification area and inside the app. This means users won’t miss a call from an unknown person — the feature will just reduce unwanted disturbance from strangers by preventing the phone from ringing.
Users who want to enable the feature on Android can tap on the three-dot menu and tap on Settings > Privacy > Calls and toggle the Silence unknown callers option on the app. Similarly, iPhone owners can tap on the gear icon on WhatsApp to open the settings menu, then tap on Privacy > Calls and toggle the Silence Unknown Callers option.
The feature comes a few months after several users in India and other regions reported of receiving spam calls from unknown numbers. Users reportedly took to Twitter to complain that they were receiving calls from unknown numbers from countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Kenya, and Ethiopia, prompting Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar to state that the IT Ministry would send a notice to the messaging platform.
At the time, WhatsApp responded that it was ramping up its spam detection systems that rely on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to bring down scam and spam calls by at 50 percent. The new feature should help reduce the inconvenience faced by users from unwanted calls on the messaging platform.