As Meta makes deeper inroads with businesses on WhatsApp, its biggest bet to monetize the instant messaging app with over 2 billion users, we are getting an early glimpse at how user experience might change on the free app. It’s not great.
Scores of people in India, WhatsApp’s largest market by users with over 500 million accounts, have complained about getting too many spam texts from businesses in recent months. WhatsApp, which quickly displaced the SMS app in the country by offering free texts, is increasingly looking like that SMS app, users say.
Thousands of brands in India have signed up for WhatsApp, consistently succeeding in reaching eyeballs of more than 80% users, a person familiar with the matter said, a figure miles ahead of campaigns run on emails and traditional texts. What’s more annoying is that even after users have blocked some businesses, many return to the inbox from different phone numbers, according to author’s account.
WhatsApp for business is fast becoming WhatsApp for spam.
Blocking a couple of accounts every day, these days. PR agencies are also now spamming on WhatsApp. pic.twitter.com/dvgbqx7cz8
— Nikhil Pahwa (@nixxin) September 15, 2022
Just when I thought which brand was missing on my @WhatsApp chats while trying to spam me without my giving them explicit approval to target here, here comes @ChaiPoint_cares pic.twitter.com/1Aq5vXb5pA
— pranjalc.eth (@dcoldmonk) October 10, 2022
WhatsApp is the new spam machine, it has become what it intended to solve with SMS.
Ola / Uber services are no where close to what they were to replace… taxi / cabs.
Every domain, brings up an opportunity to innovate every few years.
— pj (@BeingPractical) June 27, 2022
— Danish (@DanishKh4n) December 24, 2021
In many ways, the issue doesn’t come as a surprise.
Google offered businesses in India the ability to use RCS to supercharge their communication with customers in the country, the company’s biggest market by users. Rich Communication Services, or RCS, is the collective effort of a number of industry players to supercharge the traditional SMS with modern features such as richer texts and end-to-end encryption.
The company had to halt the service in the country after some businesses started to abuse the company’s anti-spam policies to send promotional messages to users in India.
Read more about WhatsApp’s rampant spam issue on Rest of the World.
Brands spamming WhatsApp users in India, Facebook’s largest market by Manish Singh originally published on TechCrunch