WhatsApp says it has fixed an issue that allowed some users’ phone numbers to appear in Google search results.
TechCrunch reports that this comes a few days after a researcher revealed that the phone numbers of WhatsApp users who created a simplified link through the ‘Click to Chat’ feature were being indexed on Google.
This feature lets users create a short link to share with others and removes the need to save phone numbers. WhatsApp says that this feature is mainly meant to help small businesses connect with their customers quickly. The researcher was able to find 300,000 phone numbers on Google by entering the first part of the shortened URLs.
According to the researcher, he was able to find the phone numbers in the search results because WhatsApp did not direct the search engine to not index these links.
“While we appreciate this researcher’s report and value the time that he took to share it with us, it did not qualify for a bounty since it merely contained a search engine index of URLs that WhatsApp users chose to make public. All WhatsApp users, including businesses, can block unwanted messages with the tap of a button,” the company told TechCrunch.
This isn’t the first time that a researcher has uncovered this kind of issue regarding the Facebook-owned company, as similar behaviour was reported earlier this year.