Ever pulled a prank without thinking of its consequences? Well, this might be worth sparing a few minutes before you pull a prank on your friends as the outcome could be more damaging than intended. WhatsApp has been banning users for as simple as being a part of a group with illegal names or subjects.

Every WhatsApp user is part of at least one group, usually more. If there's a group of friends who want to give funny names to the groups, which might stand for illegal activities, it's best to exit while you have the time.

Several users on Reddit have posted incidents of them getting banned after someone from their WhatsApp group changed the name to something illegal. One particular user wrote on Reddit that he, along with all the members of his university group on WhatsApp, was banned when someone changed the name of the group to "child porn"

All the members were banned from what is the world's largest cross-platform messaging app without any prior notice. Moreover, the only response they got from WhatsApp is that they violated the rules of the messaging app. The ban was lifted after a week, but no clarification was provided to the users.

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WhatsApp is banning users left, right and centerpixabay.com

In similar incidents posted on Reddit, hundreds of users were banned for being a part of a WhatsApp group, which has a malicious name. There's no fixed time period for the ban to be in effect, as some users' access to the platform was restored in a month and some users appear to be permanently banned.

But what users can do is be careful and act before it is too late. Every WhatsApp user must go through all the chats, list out the groups and exit the ones that are not important. It often happens that we get added to a group and forget we are a part of it due to no activity in the group. But if anyone in that dormant group changes the name to something illegal, you'll suffer the same fate as those who got banned without notice.

Once you've exited and deleted all unfamiliar and unimportant WhatsApp groups, you'll need to do one more thing to stop this from happening in the future. WhatsApp recently rolled out invite-system for groups. With the right settings, users won't be added to a random group without consent.

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WhatsApp groups pose a greater threatKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

Here are the settings:

  • Open WhatsApp
  • Go to Settings > Account > Privacy > Groups
  • Select one of the three options - "Everyone," "My Contacts," "My Contacts Except (or Nobody)"

Choose the third option, which lets you control which groups you are added to. Users will still be able to send you WhatsApp group invite, which expires after 72 hours. This is better than being added to a group and then later exiting from it.