13 Jun 2019
If caught sending bulk WhatsApp messages, you can be sued
In a bid to curb illegal activity and the spread of fake news, WhatsApp has said it will start suing users.
The Facebook-owned company, a leader in the messaging segment, has announced that anybody engaged in or assisting illegal behavior on the platform and violating its terms of service will face legal action.
Here's everything you need to know on the matter.
WhatsApp has been marred by fake news
Over the last few years, WhatsApp has witnessed a major rise in the spread of fake news, hoaxes, and provocative messages.
Hundreds of fake messages are being sent on a daily basis, leading people into believing misinformation.
WhatsApp even had to limit forwards to five messages to keep people from sharing fake stuff in bulk.
However, the restrictions haven't worked perfectly
Despite the restrictions, individuals and entities have been circumventing WhatsApp's terms of service and sending out messages in bulk.
During the Lok Sabha elections, Reuters reported that some digital marketing companies were even using a tool costing Rs. 900 to bypass the forward limits and send messages in bulk.
This behavior has prompted WhatsApp to resort to legal action.
WhatsApp will start suing individuals starting December 7
The company has now announced it will sue entities and individuals violating its terms of service in any way.
"Beginning on December 7, 2019", the company said on its FAQ page, "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."
What sort of legal action WhatsApp will take?
WhatsApp has not said what legal action will be taken against potential violators.
However, the company has already got machine learning systems in place to detect illegal behavior on the messaging app.
It identifies suspicious accounts during sign-up or messaging and then bans them, keeping them from operating anymore.
WhatsApp claims it removes two million accounts engaged in bulk messaging every month.