As Meta makes deeper inroads with businesses on WhatsApp, its biggest bet to monetize the instant messaging app with over 2 billion users, we get a first glimpse of how the user experience could change. on the free app. It’s not great.
Dozens of people in India, WhatsApp’s biggest user market with more than 500 million accounts, have complained that they have received too much spam from businesses in recent months. WhatsApp, which has quickly replaced the SMS app in the country by offering free SMS, is becoming more and more similar to this SMS app, according to users.
Thousands of brands in India have signed up to WhatsApp, consistently managing to reach over 80% users, a person familiar with the matter says, a figure miles ahead of email campaigns and traditional texts. What’s more annoying is that even after users block certain companies, many still come back to the inbox from different phone numbers, depending on the author’s account.
In many ways, the problem comes as no surprise.
Google offered businesses in India the ability to use RCS to boost their communication with customers in the country, the company’s largest market by users. Rich Communication Services, or RCS, is the collective effort of a number of industry players to supercharge traditional SMS with modern features like richer texts and end-to-end encryption.
The company had to discontinue service in the country after some companies started abusing the company’s anti-spam policies to send promotional messages to users in India.
Learn more about WhatsApp’s endemic spam problem on the rest of the world.
A spokesperson for Meta made the following comment:
“Messaging is the new way to do business, better than an email or a phone call. Our rule is that people should always ask for updates before a company can message them, and we give people easy ways to block a business or report a problem at any time. We’re constantly working with businesses to make sure messages are helpful and expected, and we have limits on the number of messages that they can send per day.It’s important to us, and to the businesses and especially the people we serve, to get it right.
Updated 10/10/22, 5:30 PM ET with Meta comment.