As Meta digs deeper into businesses on WhatsApp, the biggest bet to monetize the instant messaging app with over 2 billion users, we get an early look at how the free app’s user experience could change. It’s not great.
Dozens of people in India, WhatsApp’s largest market for users with more than 500 million accounts, have complained in recent months about receiving too many spam messages from companies. WhatsApp, which quickly supplanted the texting app in the country by offering free texts, is becoming more and more like that texting app, users say.
Thousands of brands in India have signed up for WhatsApp and consistently manage to reach the eyeballs of more than 80% users, said one person familiar with the case, a figure miles ahead of campaigns run on emails and traditional ones. lyrics. What’s even more annoying is that even after users have blocked some businesses, many are returning to the inbox from different phone numbers, according to the author’s account.
In many ways, the issue comes as no surprise.
Google offered companies in India the opportunity to use RCS to improve their communications with customers in the country, the company’s largest user market. Rich Communication Services, or RCS, is the collaborative effort of a number of industry players to enhance traditional SMS with modern features such as richer texts and end-to-end encryption.
The company had to stop the service in the country after some companies started abusing the company’s anti-spam policy to send promotional messages to users in India.
Learn more about WhatsApp’s rampant spam problem at Rest of the world.
A Meta spokesperson commented:
“Messaging is the new way to get business done, better than an email or phone call. Our rule is that people should always ask for updates before a business can message them, and we provide easy ways for people to block a business or report an issue at any time. We are constantly working with businesses to ensure messages are useful and expected, and we have limits on how many messages they can send per day. It’s important to do this right, both for us and for the companies and especially for the people we serve.”
Updated, 10/22/10, 5:30 PM ET with Meta comments.