You now have a say on who slides into your Viber

More than being annoying and cluttering threads, spam, those undesired messages from strangers can do more harm as they can include malicious links that can download malware and steal your personal information. Receiving spam is not only an invasion of privacy, it also puts you and your data in danger. That’s why communications giant Rakuten Viber has launched several tools to give you more control over who can send you messages, help you strengthen your personal privacy, and clean up your chat list. 

Viber Communities is one of the best ways to maintain quality connections in a socially distanced time. Yet it can also be used by trolls to spread spam and scam strangers. The challenge lies not in finding connections online, but doing so in a safe and private way. That’s why Viber now lets users control who can add them to communities and group chats: anyone who has their number or only their saved contacts. To set this privacy setting, simply tap More > Settings > Privacy > Groups > Control who can add you to groups. 

Moving forward, community and group chat invitations from unknown senders on Viber will automatically go under the new Message Requests inbox to keep users’ main chats tidy and free of unwanted messages.

Viber also has a new People Search feature that allows users to look for the people they already know and expand their networks, while retaining user privacy to the fullest. Once someone types in a user’s name in the Viber search bar, it will appear in the results alongside the user’s profile picture. 

In the spirit of Viber’s strong stance on ensuring user privacy, any chats initiated through search will be subject to additional privacy measures. Every user’s phone number remains hidden until they share it. Their online status is also hidden, while voice and video calls are disabled. Users who don’t want to be discovered just need to turn the feature off by tapping More > Settings > Privacy > Let users find you by your name.

“It’s important for users to expand their social circles, but keeping their personal communication space spam-free is the other side of that coin. We are working tirelessly to find the optimal solutions, like the ones we are releasing now. With these new features, Viber empowers its users to expand their horizons while addressing their safety and privacy,” says Ofir Eyal, COO of Viber.

These new features will be tested first in select countries before rolling out globally.