Getting a barrage of bulk messages is one of the most annoying parts of modern messaging services, but now WhatsApp says it is taking additional measures to prevent people and businesses from abusing its system with bulk and automated messaging.
Though WhatsApp offers a Business app and API to help companies more easily communicate with customers, the company says using these tools to send out bulk or automated messages is against its Terms of Service.
WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted, but the company can still identify abuse to some degree using unencrypted information – such as profile photos or user reports – and AI. The company says it’s stopped “millions of abusive accounts” from running on its service.
Still, some accounts find a way around WhatsApp‘s AI, so now the company will begin to take legal action against abusers even if it discovers that information outside its platform. In the company‘s own words:
…beginning on December 7, 2019, WhatsApp will take legal action against those we determine are engaged in or assisting others in abuse that violates our Terms of Service, such as automated or bulk messaging, or non-personal use, even if that determination is based on information solely available to us off our platform. For example, off-platform information includes public claims from companies about their ability to use WhatsApp in ways that violate our Terms. This serves as notice that we will take legal action against companies for which we only have off-platform evidence of abuse if that abuse continues beyond December 7, 2019, or if those companies are linked to on-platform evidence of abuse before that date.
In other words, people or services flaunting their ability to advertise via WhatsApp or whom otherwise abuse bulk messaging may find themselves facing WhatsApp‘s lawyers. It’s not hard to find such services with a quick Google search, so hopefully, this change will lead to at least a little less spam on the platform.