WhatsApp can sue you for sending bulk messages

WhatsApp will now sue companies and individuals if they're found sending out bulk messages on the Facebook-owned messaging platformUnsplash


  • WhatsApp has decided to take legal action against entities that use third party software to send bulk messages on its messaging service.
  • Any non-personal use of the platform is not what WhatsApp was intended for, according to the company’s spokesperson.
  • This comes after WhatsApp served cease and desist notices to companies reportedly violating regulation using clone apps and software.

Over the last few years, WhatsApp has been trying to limit the amount of bulk messages that are sent on the platform. But clone apps and automated delivery software that cost as little as ₹1,000 are by-passing the platform’s anti-spam restrictions.

The Facebook-owned messaging app has now decided to take legal actions against those who are exploiting the platform by way of unauthorised usage. WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion users, globally.

"Beginning on December 7, 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 company wrote in a post on Wednesday.


So, anyone from companies to individuals, can be sued by WhatsApp if found sending out messages in bulk.

Stopping misuse in its tracks

The company said that the messaging service is not intended to circulate bulk or automated messaging, both of which violate their Terms of Service.

The issue with mass messaging has less to do with casual users of WhatsApp but with digital marketers and political activists. When Reuters revealed that clones apps were being used to send out bulk messages, WhatsApp issued cease and desist notices to all companies that were reportedly involved.

WhatsApp was designed for private messaging, so the company asserts that they have taken action globally to prevent bulk messaging and enforce limits on how WhatsAp accounts that misuse WhatsApp will be handled.

"We have also stepped up our ability to identify abuse, which helps us ban 2 million accounts globally per month," TechCrunch reported a WhatsApp spokesperson as saying.

WhatsApp dismissed all the clones apps and automated delivery software as ‘unofficial’. Those who are caught using the clones could be banned, as per their regulations.

But for that to happen, a user’s WhatsApp activity has to show up as ‘unusual’ on the company’s radar. Identifying who’s sending what becomes hard to determine with end-to-end encryption protecting messages.

Earlier this year, the platform said that it had built a Machine Learning (ML)-based system to detect and remove users who behave inappropriately on the app.

The platform said it was able to assess past dealings with problematic behaviour to ban 20% of bad accounts at the time of registration itself.

(With inputs from IANS)

See also:
All it takes is $15 to override WhatApp’s spam restrictions and influence Indian elections

WhatsApp data may shift to the cloud, but may no longer be as encrypted

WhatsApp hack: Indian government calls it an issue of 'national cybersecurity'
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