Viber now empowers users to filter messages automatically and decide who can add them to groups, among other privacy-preserving features

San Francisco, August 19, 2020Rakuten Viber, owned by the Japanese company, Rakuten, and one of the world’s leading apps for free and easy communication, announces the launch of several tools to fight spam and ensure user privacy, as well as an option to search for other users by name. The new search capability will be protected with extra privacy measures in accordance with Viber’s strict commitment to ensuring privacy for its users.

As the world changes and messaging apps gain an outsize role in communication, people are constantly looking for additional ways to expand their circles and networks. Yet people today are also bombarded with more information than ever before, and avoiding spam and unnecessary overloads of information is crucial. The challenge lies not in finding connections online, but doing so in a safe and private way. With its new privacy tools, Viber provides the answer.

Viber now allows its users to control who can add them to communities and group chats, whether everyone or only their saved contacts. To set this privacy setting, users simply tap More > Settings > Privacy > Groups > Control who can add you to groups.

Additionally, New community and group chat invitations from unknown senders on Viber will automatically go under the new Message Requests inbox, to keep users’ main chat list tidy and free of unwanted requests.

The new ability to search people on Viber will open opportunities to expand networks, while retaining user privacy to the fullest. Once someone searches a user’s name in the Viber search bar, it will appear in the search 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, including:

  • Every user’s phone number remains hidden until they share it.
  • Online status is hidden.
  • Voice and video calls are disabled.

Users who don’t wish to allow others to find them through search should simply tap More > Settings > Privacy > Let users find you by your name.

People Search on Viber, as well as the Message Requests inbox, will be tested first in select countries before rolling out globally.

“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, which empower our users to expand their horizons while addressing their safety and privacy,” said Anna Znamenskaya, Chief Growth Officer at Rakuten Viber.