Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Companies using WhatsApp Business may experience bulk mailing processes

Beginning December 2019, the platform will take legal action against mass or automated messaging on the WhatsApp, Business, and Business API platforms.

Companies using WhatsApp Business may experience bulk mailing processes
Companies using WhatsApp Business may experience bulk mailing processes.

Earlier this week, we had news about bulk or automatic mailings via WhatsApp. Restricted to just five people since January this year, bulk messages are banned on the platform and anyone who breaches these regulations may be sued by WhatsApp as of December 7, 2019. However, the issue is raising many questions regarding the WhatsApp Business and the WhatsApp Business API. But anyway, how are these two platforms?

First of all, WhatsApp Business was never allowed to send spam and bulk messages. This application is aimed at small and medium businesses, is available for Android and iOS and brings various functions like absence messages, labels, and profile to facilitate communication with customers.

However, the service has the "Automatic Messages" tool, which serves to define an absence message when it is not possible to respond to the customer or even create a greeting message to introduce the company to consumers. So, notice that this is not a mass message, because it is not distributed to several contacts at the same time.

That said, there is also the WhatsApp Business API, made for large companies and already being tested by some Brazilian companies such as Banco do Brasil and Ingresso RĂ¡pido. This system is still in the testing phase according to the WhatsApp Press Office in Brazil and, when accessing the question and answer section of the platform, in the Facebook Developers website, we have the following information in the category "Sending Messages":

How many messages per second can I send?

The maximum outgoing message rate tested is 20 messages per second.

So, as we can see, it is not possible to send bulk messages to the shared contacts in this category type.

According to the company's Advisor in Brazil, "WhatsApp was made to send private messages, so we act in Brazil to prevent mass messages and reinforce the limits of how WhatsApp can be used.

We have also expanded our ability to identify accounts that misuse WhatsApp, which helps us ban more than 2 million accounts globally per month. "

It is worth remembering that in February, WhatsApp published a White Paper that explains the efforts against bulk and automated messaging.

In this document, how the company acts to prevent malicious use of the platform, from the registration in the messaging application to the use of AI technologies for the recognition of abuse, are explicit.

Although they seem complicated, the tools used by the Facebook control team, which owns WhatsApp, are simple and do not go through users' conversations, as the app uses end-to-end encryption. In this passage from WhatsApp's White Paper, we can understand a bit how the control system works:

For example, it is almost sure that an account registered five minutes ago attempting to send 100 messages in 15 seconds is involved in abuse, as well as a statement that attempts to quickly create dozens of groups or add thousands of users to several existing groups.

We ban these accounts immediately and automatically. In less obvious situations, a new account can send messages to dozens of recipients who do not have the sender's account in their contacts. In such cases, we consider historical information (for example, how suspicious the record was) to separate the user's abnormal but undamaged behavior. In short, our detection systems evaluate hundreds of factors to end abuse.

Finally, although the company has set a date to act judicially in case of violation of the Terms of Use of the Platform, it is worth remembering that the control tools and the detection systems of abuse are already in full operation since - at least - February of this year. Therefore, legal proceedings are not out of the question at this time.

In fact, here in Brazil, WhatsApp has already sent court notices to marketing companies claiming to use the app.

Finally, if your company uses WhatsApp Business or the WhatsApp Business API and respects the platform guidelines, such as sending a maximum of 20 messages per second, you do not have to worry. Our tip is: read the Terms of use of the services carefully and, in case of doubts, contact Facebook support.



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