This month saw a change to the terms of use for WhatsApp come into effect with a threat of legal action for those using the app for non-personal reasons. Reported by The Next Web, WhatsApp will stop users that intend to send ‘bulk messages’ for commercial use instead of personal one to one messages.

The exact wording is:

“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”.   

The step was first proposed in their whitepaper Stopping Abuse: How WhatsApp Fights Bulk Messaging and Automated Behavior back in February 2019 which also talks about machine learning systems in place to detect accounts.

According to Whatsapp, the platform bans over two million accounts per month for bulk or automated behaviour. 

The move is a positive for the ecosystem in that WhatsApp is looking at keeping its channel clean and maintain messages free of SPAM.

But how realistic is the threat of such legal action as a tool against fraudsters?

Often such spam attacks are unverified users of P2P profiles. Will legal action be country specific? Details are not yet known.

Any fight against unwanted consumer messages is supported by MEF. Only by respecting the user’s rights and limiting the access to their inbox can we ensure a sustainable A2P messaging industry.

Messages sent by businesses should be relevant, have consent and follow best practices when it comes to authorised senders and quantities of messages.

The battle against unauthorised messages continues…

Joanne Lacey

COO, Mobile Ecosystem Forum

  

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