Even though WhatsApp has become one of the world’s largest and most secure communications platforms; complete with end to end encryption, there are a lot of things you should not post upon it.
Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of posting certain things on WhatsApp, or in WhatsApp chat groups. This can create a security hazard or lead to unnecessary and perhaps destructive conflicts with others.
The good news is that these problems could easily be avoided by following a few simple rules. If you want to keep your information safe, and your reputation intact it is always a good idea to come up with a set of rules for WhatsApp Posting and to follow them.
Ensuring Your Security on WhatsApp
Even though the latest version of WhatsApp now offers end-to-end encryption, there is still a lot of information you should try to avoid posting. Something to remember is that any encryption can be cracked, given enough time and resources. That means it is a good idea to have a list of sensitive information that you will not post.
Examples of sensitive information not to post on WhatsApp include:
- Financial accounts: including credit and debit card numbers, bank account numbers etc. If you send money, send it through a money-transfer solution such as PayPal, Skrill or Venmo. That way you can transfer cash to friends without exposing financial information to them. Venmo in particular is a useful solution because it is designed to work with Social Media.
- Images or copies of documents that might contain financial information, such as checks or contracts.
- Information that could be used for identity theft such as government identification, Social Security, military ID, taxpayer ID and driver’s license numbers. Make sure that documents you send through WhatsApp do not contain these.
- Any information that you do not want the government or the news media to see. This could include political statements, business plans, strategies etc.
- Confidential business information you want kept secret such as business plans, designs for products, sales or marketing strategies etc.
- Details of your personal life that could potentially embarrass or harm you. For example: details of your sex life.
- Business information that you do not want competitors to see. For example: business plans or sales or marketing strategies.
What Never to Post on WhatsApp
There are also some things you should never post on WhatsApp or any other social media. Sadly enough a lot of people do not learn what not to post until their reputation, career or life gets destroyed by post.
Stuff that should never be posted on WhatsApp includes:
- Any photograph or video of yourself; or a loved one, that you do not want others to see.
- Details of your sex life.
- Details of legal conflicts or court cases that you might be involved in. You must be real careful with this; because you might under a court order not to reveal such information. In some countries you could be fined or even jailed for disclosing details of court cases.
- Arrest and other criminal records.
- Proprietary information such as patents or intellectual property.
- Contracts and other legal documents, particularly those related to court cases.
- Financial records.
- Banking and credit card records.
- Any conversation that you do not want others to hear.
What Not to Say or Do in a Group Chat
There are also some things that you should never say in a group chat on WhatsApp or any other social media. A few of the forbidden discussion topics include:
- Anything that could be construed as racial, religious, or other bigotry. This includes racial epitaphs, insulting nicknames and anything that demeans or denigrates any group of people. Be careful because you never know what offends people.
- Unsolicited discussions about religion or politics. If these topics come up, ask if it is okay to discuss them.
- Insults and mockery, particularly of others’ beliefs. This is mean and childish, and can be construed as bullying.
- Bullying, or any attempt to browbeat or coerce somebody, through WhatsApp.
- One-on-one conversations during a group chat. The chat is for the group, not just for two people. If you want to chat directly with somebody, contact them directly on your own time.
- Gossip. This includes both celebrity gossip and that about acquaintances. It is both unprofessional and distracting from the group. It is also real easy for gossip to degenerate into mockery and insults. The best way to avoid gossip is not to tolerate it.
- Spam. This includes any sort of advertisement or promotes your political or religious beliefs. If you have a great offer from a business or a proposition for somebody, send it to people individually.
- Practical jokes. Hoaxes and gags can be funny, but they can also quickly spin out of control.
- Sexual content. This can be quickly construed as offensive or even harassment. Limit this to one-on-one conversations.
- Romance. If you want to strike up a relationship with somebody, contact him or her on your own time.
- Distractions. This can include anything that is off topic, it is both rude and confusing.
- Cute Emojis, ask if it is okay before using these. Not everybody finds them amusing.
- Unnecessary personal details. For example: continually talking about your children during a business conversation. This is rude, and it can quickly get boring to others.
- Unsolicited videos or images. If you plan to send out a video or image, ask the others first and make sure it is alright.
- Business or job offers. If you have one to make to somebody, do it in a one-on-one chat.
- Rudeness. Any behavior that could be construed as rude can quickly destroy a group chat.
By restricting what you post on WhatsApp you can actually greatly enhance the messaging platform’s effectiveness as a communications tool. Some great communications mediums; such as email, have been ruined by spam and unnecessary information.
It is up to all users to police WhatsApp, and keep it an open and safe environment for communications. The best way to achieve is with sensible monitoring of your communications.
A good rule of thumb for all WhatsApp users to follow is this one: if you do not want others to hear or know about something it should never be posted on WhatsApp.