WhatsApp may soon let you choose username to hide phone number, will it end spam calls on app?

WhatsApp may soon let you add a username to hide your phone number. This could add a layer of safety, but for how long?

By Abhik Sengupta:

WhatsApp is working on a new update to let users choose a unique username likely to safeguard their phone number. The username could be more memorable and let others add you to the contact without revealing the registered mobile number. As spotted by the WhatsApp updates tracker, WABetaInfo, the feature is under development and may take months before wide availability. The publication notes that conversations initiated through usernames will still be protected by end-to-end encryption.

Currently, even the WhatsApp beta users also don’t have access to the future. Therefore, the exact functioning remains unclear. Many social media platforms and some messaging apps, including Signal, let users choose a unique username to log in and interact with others without revealing their phone number. WhatsApp may offer similar functionality, aside from the login with mobile number option.

Image: WABetaInfo

The report also includes a screenshot of how the username feature on WhatsApp may work. We can notice it in the Profile section under Settings. The report adds:

“With the ability to choose a username, WhatsApp users will have the opportunity to add another layer of privacy to their accounts. This means that instead of relying solely on phone numbers to identify contacts, users will be able to opt for a unique and memorable username: by allowing users to choose usernames, WhatsApp may offer users the ability to reach other people by entering a username within the app, without knowing their phone numbers.”

Will spam calls reduce on WhatsApp with the new username option?

The latest update comes in the wake of many users globally and in India receiving spam calls and messages. We also reported users in India receiving spam calls from international numbers primarily for phishing (simply to steal money).

While opting for a username instead of providing a mobile number could add a layer of security, history tells us that hackers and bad actors always find a way to dupe others. For instance, social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, have been relying on usernames to log in, but many keep receiving fishy messages and calls on these apps. Even members of India Today Tech keep receiving fishy messages on Twitter DMs, promising “jobs.”

Twitter DM (Image: Abhik S/ India Today Tech)

Usernames could offer temporary measures, but in the long run, bad actors may find new methods to spam others on WhatsApp.

Readers must note that WhatsApp or its parent company Meta have not confirmed the feature yet.

Lately, WhatsApp has been rolling out features for users in India. Last month, the platform received a multi-device connectivity option to let users use WhatsApp on multiple phones via the in-built Link option. WhatsApp also rolled out a Lock Chat feature to safeguard select chats from others. Earlier this week, the company also announced an Edit message option to let users fix typos within 15 minutes of sending the text.

WhatsApp may soon let you add a username to hide your phone number. This could add a layer of safety, but for how long?

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