WhatsApp has recently confirmed that Google will restrict the indexing of users' phone numbers. So now a "site.wa.me" query will not generate a list of links to WhatsApp users.
This decision was taken after a security researcher Athul Jayaram pointed out how running a simple query for WhatsApp's Click to Chat URL could give you access to dozens of contacts and links to starting a chat with them.
WhatsApp's Click to Chat tool let anyone start a chat without saving any number on their phone. All you had to do was add a number to a particular web address and click on it to launch a chat with a user on WhatsApp.
This option was best for businesses as they would add a public link to their website to allow customers or clients to easily interact with them without the trouble of first creating a new contact in their phonebook.
Jayaram has said that he could message many strangers that he was able to find via the wa.me search. The Google listing did not disclose any personal information like the user's number or status. But he was able to see pictures and names of WhatsApp users who haven't put privacy on their data via WhatsApp security options. When Jayaram added the country's code to the end of the URL, he was able to limit the results to a certain region, this practice could have been useful for spammers and cybercriminals.
WhatsApp was also under hot waters when a report found out that anyone could search private group links shared on a public channel and find their phone numbers and participants by joining them.