WhatsApp’s latest feature can automatically mute incoming calls if they’re from an unknown number, the service announced today. The setting is available by going into WhatsApp’s settings, hitting “Privacy,” selecting “Calls,” and turning on the “Silence Unknown Callers” toggle. WhatsApp says the feature will help “screen out spam, scams, and calls from unknown people for increased protection.”
When enabled, the feature silences all signs of incoming calls from unknown numbers including both sound and visual alerts in the app. However, silenced calls will still appear in your recent calls list with a “silenced unknown caller” note next to them, in case you want to call back.
The addition of the feature comes after reports of an uptick in spam calls, particularly affecting Indian users. A month ago, TechCrunch reported that WhatsApp had introduced a new enforcement system that used machine learning to reduce the amount of spam calls by a claimed 50 percent. Now, with the new silencing feature in the app, users can attempt to silence any spam calls not caught by the service’s automatic filters.
In addition to the silencing feature, WhatsApp says it’s also adding a new “Privacy Checkup” feature that’s designed to inform users about the privacy and security options WhatsApp offers, step-by-step. The checkup covers several categories, including letting users choose who can contact them, and adding additional security to their account such as two-step verification or requiring biometric authentication to open the app.