O Whatsapp is one of the main messengers in India, as well as in Brazil. But many lost their peace after the WhatsApp Business gained special attention from Goal: according to a report by rest of world this Monday (10), users in the Asian country are being bombarded by spam from stores, hotels and other commercial establishments.
The exposure stems from complaints made by Twitter. As exposed by the site, in July, user Aishwarya Rao reported that she was receiving advertisements on her cell phone from several companies, such as Flipkart. “First it was email, then it was SMS. Now it’s WhatsApp – we can’t escape spam,” she said.
To rest of world, Rao explained that he started receiving the messages at the end of 2021. But the situation has worsened in the last six months. She also pointed out that at no time did she give permission to receive the messages. “It’s honestly such a frustrating experience now that WhatsApp has its business section,” she vented.
But this is not the only complaint that hangs over the messenger. Also on Twitter, Deepak Mehta said that everything touched by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, is “ruined forever”. “WhatsApp used to be so good,” he tweeted. “Now every second message received is from a random corporate account. I never gave permission to spam my inbox.”
Criticism also comes from Brazilians
But it is not just in India that the problem occurs. In Brazil, a user stated that he spends his day receiving spam from companies on WhatsApp. “This kind of invasive marketing has the opposite effect on me,” he said last week on Twitter.
Another Brazilian vented on the social network: “I don’t know if I’m living or blocking people who do invasive marketing on my WhatsApp and tag me in spam on Instagram”.
There was even a Brazilian developer who created a code to “take revenge” on spam messages.
One case was also reported by João Pedro C. Motta. Also on his Twitter profile, he reported that he received spam from a verified operator number:
WhatsApp releases API for more companies
The rise in business messaging is apparently linked to WhatsApp’s latest efforts to turbocharge Business. No wonder, in May, the messenger team announced Premium for businesses. Thus, commercial establishments can guarantee extra and exclusive resources by paying a monthly fee to the messenger – the values, however, have not been revealed until today.
This was not the only novelty of the occasion. On the same day, the messenger announced the WhatsApp Cloud API to allow developers to create customer service programs. Thus, the customer can get in touch through the messenger application, on their computer or cell phone, but employees will be able to use another platform provided by their company to make contact.
The change, in fact, helps many companies. No wonder, in an interview with rest of world, a representative of the Bombay Sweet Shop store stated that it faced some obstacles to accessing the API in 2021. Today, the reality is different, as the API has been open to the public. Thus, businesses can use the platform to optimize their relationship with consumers.
Messenger has AI to check content
The ease, however, is becoming a headache for many. Although the cases on the site are reported in India, every now and then I read something similar on my WhatsApp, here in Brazil. It’s still not a flurry, as Rao pointed out. But something similar has already happened: suddenly, I received advertisements from stores that I only gave my number to serve as a contact for the delivery of products to my house.
The point that most caught my attention in the report is that, if it is a promotional message, the content goes through WhatsApp. Also according to the Bombay Sweet Shop representative, there is an artificial intelligence that analyzes messages before bulk sending. Only after that and with the approval of the system that the information is sent to the users.
That is, there is a verification of the messenger itself before the messages are sent.
WhatsApp offers other tools to stop the nuisance. This is the case with the option to block and report the account as spam, which can help reduce the daily submission limit of the reported company. However, this function is not always effective: after I blocked a company, I started to receive the same messages through other numbers.
What to do to reduce WhatsApp spam?
But how will this be resolved? Well, for now, there isn’t really a solution, as there isn’t a button to stop sending these messages. Just a few recommendations, like blocking and reporting the company account in question as spam. Another alternative is to activate the option to keep conversations archived forever to prevent these messages from flooding your WhatsApp home screen.
The company was contacted by rest of world. A spokesperson told the website that as we continue to connect people “with companies they value most on WhatsApp, it’s important that messages sent through our service are useful and expected.” The problem is that this doesn’t happen most of the time.
WhatsApp also said it offers features “to give people control over their conversations and take action when companies send messages they don’t want to receive.” And he added: “Our systems constantly incorporate feelings and feedbacks shared with us to ensure the best possible user experience.”
Again, the problem is that this doesn’t always happen. And I reiterate the comment I made above: after I blocked a company, I received messages from another number. In other words, it was no use withholding the receipt. Not to mention the scam messages I get from numbers that aren’t even from Brazil:
Author’s Note: while I was finishing this text, I received a spam from a consultant from a landline operator that I don’t even know or contacted before. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
With information: Rest of World