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  • Writer's pictureSophia Satapathy

WhatsApp Spams and How Brands in India are Overdoing it!!


WhatsApp Spams

Many people in India are facing problems with WhatsApp these days. Companies have started sending promotional messages to users without their permission. India has the highest number of WhatsApp users in the world, with over 500 million people using it. WhatsApp has become very popular because you can message friends and family for free without paying for each text like SMS.

However, some companies are now misusing WhatsApp to send ads. They are adding people to message lists without first asking if it is okay. Even when users block one company, that business often returns from a new phone number. All these ads interrupt private conversations. This article will discuss how too many promotional messages spoil the WhatsApp experience and offer some solutions to help control the spread of unwanted messages from companies.

How Heavy is the Spam on WhatsApp in India? 

Many WhatsApp users in India are facing a big problem with spam messages. India has over 500 million WhatsApp users, the highest number in the world. According to reports, hundreds of people have recently complained about getting too many promotional messages from companies in their WhatsApp chatbox.

Thousands of big brands and small businesses in India have registered with WhatsApp to send messages. Reports say these companies are able to send messages to more than 80% of users in the country, which is much more than campaigns on emails or regular SMS. However, the problem is that they often add people to message lists without permission.

Many users have expressed their frustration with non-stop spam. Some tweets from users show they are getting 5-10 messages from companies every day, even if they have blocked those accounts before. One user tweeted that blocking 1-2 accounts daily has become routine. Another said WhatsApp is no longer a free messaging app but a "spam machine" like SMS used to be.

Since India accounts for over 500 million WhatsApp users, it is the platform's biggest market globally. So, the scale of the spam issue is significantly high and annoying for many users in the country. Unless fixed, it can impact people's experience of the app, which is widely used for personal communication as well as business purposes in India.

Why are Brands Abusing WhatsApp?

Google and Meta have tried to help brands connect with customers through WhatsApp and RCS. These tools let companies send messages to many people at once. WhatsApp has over 2 billion users worldwide and is very popular in India. RCS also lets businesses send messages to Android users.

This gives companies a big opportunity to promote their products. Messages are often more personal than ads on websites or social media. Many brands in India have signed up for WhatsApp to reach most of the country's 500 million users.

However, some companies need to be using these tools properly. They send spam messages without permission. People in India complain about getting too many sales messages on WhatsApp from different phone numbers. Even when users block one number, brands use other numbers to contact them again.

Meta and Google have rules against spam. But some brands are ignoring these rules. As a result, WhatsApp is starting to feel like the SMS app people wanted to replace. Users got tired of unwanted sales messages through SMS. If brands keep misusing WhatsApp, people may switch to other messaging apps like Signal, which have stronger privacy. Google and Meta must stop brands from spamming users, or people will lose trust in these communication platforms.

Impact of Rampant Spam on User Experience 

Many WhatsApp users in India are facing a worsening experience due to constant spam messages from brands. As thousands of companies have signed up to use WhatsApp for promotion, people need to receive more unsolicited sales texts. This is causing fatigue among users as they spend a lot of time blocking phone numbers to avoid spam. Even after blocking one number, brands return from different contacts.

This heavy promotion is undermining WhatsApp's original value. When it launched, WhatsApp became popular because it offered free and private messaging without advertisements like SMS. But now, with businesses sending promotions without user consent, WhatsApp is starting to feel like the old SMS service for which people wanted an alternative. Users are tired of dealing with unwanted commercial messages through regular calls and texts.

Constant spam is a frustrating experience that can drive people away from WhatsApp. If Meta does not take proper steps to restrict unsolicited marketing, users may switch to other private messaging apps that protect them from such spamming. Companies should follow anti-spam policies so people can use communication platforms for personal communication without constant interruptions from promotions. The user experience should be the top priority.

Possible Solutions to Curb Spam Abuse 

WhatsApp needs to improve how users can block spam. It's frustrating that businesses can easily contact again from new numbers after being blocked. WhatsApp should consider implementing some form of blocking at the business account level. This way, blocking one number would automatically block the whole business.

The company also needs stricter policies for companies using WhatsApp for promotions. It must limit how many messages a business can send daily and take action against repeat offenders of spamming rules. Heavy penalties could include suspending accounts for a period or even permanent banning.

Educating companies about WhatsApp users' privacy and preferences is equally important. Businesses must understand they can only contact people who opt in, not those who do not agree to promotions. Sending messages without consent is a violation. WhatsApp should work with industry bodies to train brands to respect privacy and etiquette on the platform.

With 500 million users in India, WhatsApp has a responsibility to curb spam and make users feel in control. While messaging tools can help businesses, user experience should be the top priority. WhatsApp needs a balanced approach to benefit both companies and consumers on its platform.

Conclusion 

WhatsApp spam has become a significant problem in India, as many users get unwanted messages daily. It is important to find solutions to make a helpful platform again. While WhatsApp needs stricter rules for companies, brands must also talk to users only when allowed. All sides have to work together to reduce spam. If this does not improve, people may stop using the app. We should find a way for businesses to promote their products without bothering users. Only then will WhatsApp continue helping people connect as before.

FAQs

How do brands get user phone numbers to send spam?

Some unscrupulous brands may obtain phone numbers through illegal data breaches, public databases, or incentivizing users to share contacts in exchange for discounts/rewards without proper consent. Users need to be cautious about blindly sharing their data.

Can I sue brands for sending WhatsApp spam?

Indian laws have provisions for legal action against companies for unsolicited commercial communications. However, tracing the origin or holding individual marketers accountable may be difficult. Users can report spam incidents to authorities to create deterrence.

Is there a way to identify spam numbers on WhatsApp?

Not reliably, but users can check numbers on third-party apps/websites that maintain blacklists of reported spammer IDs. Also, numbers not in your contacts sending generic promotional messages are more likely spam. Block and report all suspected spam right away.

Why doesn't WhatsApp have a spam filter like email?

As a messaging platform, WhatsApp has stricter privacy standards than open protocols like email. Advanced client-side spam filtering would require analyzing message content/metadata, which WhatsApp avoids for user privacy. Report buttons are the preferred approach for now.

Will brands still have access to contact users after new EU rules?

The upcoming EU Digital Markets Act aims to curb Big Tech's dominance. It may limit how platforms share user data with third parties for targeting ads/messages. However, existing business relationships can continue if user privacy and choice are respected. Stricter local laws also apply.


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