What is new on WhatsApp

WhatsApp, image: WhatsApp.com

The name WhatsApp is a pun directly from the phrase ‘What’s up’ – and it was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton. In 2014, WhatsApp was bought by Facebook. WhatsApp is a free instant messaging app used by over 1 billion people all around the globe in over 180 countries.

You can use WhatsApp to send texts, images, videos, audios, documents, etc. all from the use of your data depending on your mobile network provider. The app uses secured with end-to-end encryption and thus not even the WhatsApp Team can read your messages.

There are always facts, features, laws, and policies modified some possibly created in the best interest of the user.

WhatsApp has group settings where users can choose to accept groups request manually or automatically. You can select, ‘NOBODY’, ‘MY CONTRACTS’ and ‘EVERYONE’ – when you decide to select ‘NOBODY’ – this means you’ll have to approve joining every group request sent to you.


MY CONTACTS’ denotes you can select the users that will have full permission to add you to groups.

What’s new in 2020?

  • Do not be surprised when you start seeing Adverts on your WhatsApp’s statuses. Stories ads will be a new feature for business owners in South Africa to promote content through WhatsApp. It is the same idea as with Instagram showing ads in the status feature.
  • You will be able to change themes very soon for Android users. You will be able to switch between light, dark and system default theme.
  • You will be able to select an automated feature that lets you remove your messages after a pre-defined interval.

If you are using MTN, you can now be able to recharge using WhatsApp.  This is an exciting feature that lets customers receive balance notification and make data and airtime purchases.

MTN Customers can save the “MTN Recharge Chat” number 083 123 0011and send the ‘hi’ text. A link will be sent to opt-in; upon approval, you will be sent a menu to choose preferred service. Security measures are taken to mitigate fraudulent activities.

WhatsApp in South Africa (Cybercrime and CyberSecurity Bill)

The South African Government wants to revive the lapsed Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill and aims for the law to be in line with other countries’ cyber laws.

The following malicious messages may get you arrested in South Africa:

  • Data Messages inciting violence or damage to property
  • Threats with violence or with damage to property
  • Messages containing private images without the person’s consent

A person found guilty will be convicted to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding 3 years if not both the fine and imprisonment.

The Act may be revived and may be used with the Film and Publications Amendment Act (FPB Act) – signed by South African President – Cyril Ramaphosa.  The Act regulates the use of content contribution such as a film and/or games. It is a criminal offense to possess and distribute inappropriate children’s videos.

The Films and Publications Act, Act No. 65 of 1996 (“the Act”) requires certain films, games, publications and online content (“classifiable content”) to be classified by the Film and Publication Board (“FPB”). Once classified, the distribution is subject to the conditions imposed by the FPB. ‘Distribution’ includes screening in public, selling, hiring out, offering or keeping for sale or hire, handing, or exhibiting such content to a person under the age of 18 years in certain circumstances, and the failure to take reasonable steps to regulate access to films, games or certain publications

The guilty will face a possible fine not exceeding R150 000or imprisonment not exceeding two years and/or both the fine and imprisonment. If you are found in any of the images and/or film, the fine will raise up to R300 000.

Renew Car License Disc using WhatsApp

Motorists can now have their car license renewed using WhatsApp using the Infobip’s ‘Chatback’ function.  This function is open to everyone who owns a car in South Africa, and the service is available 24/7.

It will take you less than two minutes to renew your car license disc. The service can be accessed on the WhatsApp API link, you can save the number 0662026685 to your contacts and send the word “renew” to get started.

Here’s a video:


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