Consent Preferences

Whatsapp guidelines for Group Admins

by | Jul 26, 2023 | GDPR Advice

Whatsapp for Club / Class / Group Managers – 

Managing a sports team, organising and running a class or heading up a committee – all of these are roles where you might be using a Whatsapp group to communicate with your team, participants and committee members. Whatsapp is great in some ways as its an easy way to broadcast a message to a large group & you can also see who has read what you’ve sent. 

If you’ve started a whatsapp group this technically makes you a Data Controller as you are in charge of the data. Here’s a few things to think about as a whatsapp group creator/manager.

  1. Be clear before starting a group. Who do you need in the group, what is its purpose, how long will it run for (sports are often seasonal), what information will be shared, what if any pictures will be shared and lastly will everyone have the same rights in the group – ie will everyone be an admin, can everyone message back or is it a broadcast group where you only see one individual message at a time?. Whose responsibility is it to keep the group up to date (ie deleting and adding people) once it has been created – will you do that or do you need to appoint an additional admin?
  2. Make sure you have the consent of all proposed group members before you create the group. Assuming you have their number or email from a sign-up or intake form, you can message them informing them you are creating a group and ask if they would like to be part of it letting them know what it’s for and what they can expect from it. You can also create a group and send a link via email so that people have to opt in to be part of the group.
  3. Be safe with images kept within the group. Chats autosave images to some phones so be mindful of this but also that images are stored within the chat in the ‘media’ area. Any sensitive images could be deleted after a period of time that is appropriate. Its also worth noting that as it is your group you are responsible if these images end up somewhere they shouldn’t – a policy can be done up regarding this and should be as standard for any groups that aren’t just social friend groups!
  4. What happens if someone leaves the group or class in real life in relation to the whatsapp group? If someone is no longer needing to get updates they should no longer be in the whatsapp group that pertains to that group, it could also be a question as to if you need to keep the number stored on your phone or not. My general rule of thumb is if you don’t socialise with the person or talk to them outside of the club/class setting then you don’t need to be keeping their personal data on your phone.
  5. Closing the group. Following on from the above if the club / class is seasonal such as GAA or term time only classes then once the term or season finishes the group should end too. A new group should be started for the next season or term as you might have different participants. All information relating to the group should be deleted, including images & the process of obtaining consent should begin again. 

Always remember that even though whatsapp is a global company if theres any issues with individuals its very unlikely that they will dealt with by whatsapp itself – even if you are acting as part of a team manager or as a class facilitator for a larger company the buck ultimately will stop with you as the creator of the group and data controller. If you have any further questions, or you feel you are part of an organisation that could use some training and advice on using whatsapp in a gdpr friendly manner please subscribe to my newsletter below as I have a course launching that could be just what you need.