WhatsApp is threatening legal action against anyone it determines is linked to abusing the messaging app’s terms of service around bulk messages.
Analysts believe the move is a ploy by the Facebook-owned WhatsApp to grow another section of the business.
The instant messaging platform announced that, from 7 December, it will consider taking legal action against anyone deemed to be using the platform for activities such as “bulk or automated messaging”.
This decision has been instigated by the emergence of a raft of companies bypassing usage restrictions to advertise products.
WhatsApp says its platform is meant to be used as a private messaging platform, or for companies to interact with customers via its dedicated business app, hence its decision to block spam messages.
“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 7 December 2019, or if those companies are linked to on-platform evidence of abuse before that date.”
It adds: “WhatsApp was designed for private messaging, so we’ve taken action to prevent bulk messaging and enforce limits on how it can be used. We’ve also stepped up our ability to identify accounts that misuse WhatsApp, which helps us ban two million accounts globally per month.”
“They want to grow the business app section of the business and then block bulk messaging,” comments analyst Mongezi Mtati, MD of digital agency WordStart.
Mtati, however, believes the instant messaging platform will only be affected marginally, as people will just stop sending bulk messages, but will continue to use WhatsApp. “On the other side, businesses tend to take advantage of and use platforms like WhatsApp; they are the ones that may be affected.”