So far, public messenger groups are mainly known from Telegram. But they are also available in smaller form on WhatsApp. They can be found through external services, but they are also dangerous.
Atila Hildmann and Co.’s controversial Telegram groups have thousands of users. Communication there is mainly one-way. The group founder posts, the members read and can sometimes also comment. In contrast, WhatsApp groups are limited to 256 people. Everyone can write here, the groups are intended for private exchange. The aim is to find like-minded people in different subject areas. Sounds like a good thing in theory, but in practice it is especially dangerous for young people.
Not just harmless interest groups
The basic idea is nice. Exchange ideas with others on special topics, get information or just chat a little. Since WhatsApp is designed for private use with friends, there is no option in Messenger to search for groups. Groupler and Groupster allow you to share your WhatsApp groups via their website. An invitation link is then practically stored there. One of 19 categories must be stored for the group name and the age range for new group members must be specified.
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Cybergrooming danger in many groups
At first glance everything looks harmless. You can find groups in which, for example, tuning fans want to exchange ideas or gamers are looking for new players. Obviously there are also dubious groups with a clear or hidden focus on initiating conversations with a sexual background.
Both groups mentioned above have one problem in common: They are also or completely aimed at minors. When it comes to sexting, the problem is obvious. Because even for adults it is possible without any problems to pretend to be a younger person on WhatsApp and thus to come into contact with children and adolescents. The same also applies to normal single groups aimed at minors.
Other critical groups found
There are other potentially dangerous groups to be found on Groupster and Groupler. The following appeared quite prominently, which at first sounds harmless.
The group called Keksfamily sounds inconspicuous at first. However, there is a dangerous trend behind the names Ana and Mia. In these groups there is usually a positive view of the eating disorder. You give each other weight-loss tips.
Platforms take no responsibility for groups
The respective platforms Groupster and Groupler reject responsibility for the groups. Before being redirected to WhatsApp to join the group, there is a corresponding hint. Accordingly, the sides take no responsibility for things that happen in the groups.
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TECHNOLOGY BUTTON means
The idea behind Groupster and Groupler is harmless at first and can help you make contact with new people. Nowadays one cannot actually operate such a service without ensuring adequate protection of minors. We therefore advise parents against making this service available to their children. We would like every group to be checked for name and description at least first. Groups with sexual content could thus be withdrawn from circulation directly.