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WhatsApp will sue individuals and companies sending too many messages

With more than 200 million users, India is a key market for WhatsApp. In its FAQs section, the Facebook-owned company said its products are not intended for bulk or automated messaging and these are against its terms of service.

  • Updated: June 14, 2019 9:15 AM IST
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WhatsApp will start taking legal action against users who send too many messages. The Facebook-owned social messaging platform plans to take action against individuals and companies sending out bulk messages. The service can already ban users who break its terms and conditions. In an updated statement, WhatsApp proposes to take legal action against those violating its service terms. The action will be taken even if such information is available through channels outside the messaging platform.

Entities “engaged in or assisting others” for activities such as sending automated or bulk messages would face legal action from December 7 onwards. The move might help WhatsApp crackdown spread of fake news and misinformation on its platform. The report showed marketers and other entities exploiting the platform to send out spam messages. WhatsApp has a user base of more than billion people around the world.

Why WhatsApp plans to take legal action

India is one of the biggest market for WhatsApp with over 250 million active users. In its FAQs section, WhatsApp said its products are not intended for bulk or automated messaging and these are against its terms of service.

“In addition, 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,” it said.

Off-platform information would include public claims from companies about their ability to use WhatsApp in violation of the messaging platform’s 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,” WhatsApp said.

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The company has taken action to prevent bulk messaging and maintain limits on how the platform can be used. “We’ve also stepped up our ability to identify accounts that misuse WhatsApp and ban them from our service. We know that people want to communicate with businesses on WhatsApp, which is why we’ve developed WhatsApp Business and are working to expand our features and uses for these products,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told PTI.

In a white paper released in February, WhatsApp said that its abuse detection operates at three stages of an account’s life cycle — at registration, during messaging, and in response to the negative feedback that it receives in the form of user reports and blocks.

Written with PTI inputs

  • Published Date: June 12, 2019 9:59 AM IST
  • Updated Date: June 14, 2019 9:15 AM IST