Facebook-owned popular cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP service app, WhatsApp recently announced that it will sue users who send bulk and automated messages via its platform, starting from December 7, 2019.
In a security and privacy update to its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of their website, WhatsApp Inc. said its messaging application is a private messaging platform originally built to help people message their friends and loved ones.
Over time WhatsApp has seen how people value messaging with businesses and so they built two tools – the WhatsApp Business app and the WhatsApp Business API – to help companies manage customer interactions.
WhatsApp stated that it is committed to reinforcing the private nature of our platform and keeping users safe from abuse and because of that, they are taking legal actions against users that flaunt its terms of service, starting from December 7, 2019.
“We 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.”
The violations also involve off-platform information includes public claims from companies about their ability to use WhatsApp in ways that violate the Terms.
WhatsApp will also be banning accounts based on machine-learning classifiers. This means account belonging to users who violate WhatsApp term, will have their account suspended.
WhatsApp is proactive: The messaging app company has built a sophisticated machine learning systems to detect abusive behaviour and ban suspicious accounts at registration, during messaging, and in response to user reports. The company has removed over 2 million accounts per month for bulk or automated behaviour; over 75% without a recent user report.
Why it matters: In this age of fake news and businesses looking for ways to push their products and services irrespective of consumers’ privacy, this action by WhatsApp Inc. is a welcome development to protect users from spamming, phishing, and offensive messages that can be of racial prejudice and hate speech or inciting.