WhatsApp threatens legal action against users who spread spam messages on the app

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Encrypted messaging app, WhatsApp, will crack down on spam, threatening legal action against anyone that violates the platform's terms of service.
 
In an update to the Facebook-owned company’s FAQ section of its website, WhatsApp said that starting in December 7, it will consider taking legal action against anyone deemed to be using the platform for activities such as 'bulk or automated messaging.'
 
'WhatsApp was designed for private messaging, so we’ve taken action to prevent bulk messaging and enforce limits on how WhatsApp can be used,' a spokesman said.
 
'We’ve also stepped up our ability to identify accounts that misuse WhatsApp, which helps us ban two million accounts globally per month.'
 
The updated page on the firm’s website, titled 'unauthorized usage of WhatsApp' says the company is  'committed to reinforcing the private nature of our platform and keeping users safe from abuse.'
 
The update adds that it will use all the resources at its disposal to prevent abuse of its terms of service.
 
WhatsApp said it will also consider legal action based on evidence that it 'solely available' to the company 'off-platform.'
 
That evidence will include 'public claims from companies about their ability to use WhatsApp in ways that violate [terms].'
 
Currently, WhatsApp offers a version of its messaging service to companies of varying sizes, including a free version of smaller businesses and a paid service for medium to large companies.
 
A crackdown on spam messages sent via its free private messaging service would enhance experiences for users, but also help to ensure companies seeking to leverage the platform are paying for WhatsApp's services.
 
New policies may also help deter criminals who use the app to send phishing scams and other harmful malware.
 
Earlier this year, WhatsApp released a white paper which warned of automated and spam messages being used to spread 'problematic content.'
 
It said efforts to stop this behavior are 'particularly important during elections where certain groups may attempt to send messages at scale.'
 
Earlier this year, the company confirmed it would be limiting the number of times users can forward any single message to five in an attempt to stop the spread of false information on the platform.
 
This feature was initially tested in India in 2018 after a string of mob attacks in the country were blamed on fake reports spread via the app.
 
It also has begun to ban users who run modified versions of its app saying that users who download and use those third-party iterations are putting themselves at a greater security risk.
 
The messaging service is currently one of the biggest in the world, boasting more than 1.5 billion active users.