No, WhatsApp group admins don’

WhatsApp messages. Image via Piabay

No, WhatsApp group admins don’t have to circulate that POPIA message

According to legal experts, there is no need for most of us to be concerned about the flood of messages which warn us to provide consent in order to remain in WhatsApp groups.

No, WhatsApp group admins don’

WhatsApp messages. Image via Piabay

Are you being flooded with chain messages requesting consent regarding your personal information, in order to remain in WhatsApp groups that you belong to ?  

The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) has come into effect from 1 July but many of us are still getting chain messages advising that consent is required to remain in some of our WhatsApp groups.

The message claims that “administrators will be required to obtain your consent for being part of this WhatsApp group”.

According to MyBroadband who approached South African legal experts for clarity on the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), there is no need for the majority of WhatsApp group administrators to send out these messages to group members. 


Many South African companies have been sending such mails or WhatsApp messages to customers to notify them of their rights under the new Protection of Personal Information Act.

The need to obtain consent from group members depends on the purpose of the WhatsApp group. Groups which are personal or informal differ from those that are formal or commercially oriented.


Wilmari Strachan, the executive for technology, media, and telecommunications at ENSafrica told MyBroadband that POPIA does not apply to the processing of personal information in the course of personal or household activity.

“So, no need to send this to all your family groups — unless you’re really bored,” said Strachan.


WhatsApp is also often used for more formal groups, like school classroom groups, where one might be added whether you like it or not. For these groups, Strachan said, it might be wise for group admins to post a notice and basic rules.

If a WhatsApp group is used for the purposes of marketing or selling goods and services it is necessary to obtain consent from participants.

“Persons or businesses that create groups to market their goods and services must get consent,” Strachan said.


Group admins are advised to extend invites to participants who are to be added to a group before simply adding them to the relevant WhatsApp group.

Strachan said that it is recommended that participants to in non-personal groups be sent a link to join if they want to, instead of just adding them.

It is suggested that people read the guide on How to use WhatsApp responsibly, which is published on the app’s website.