WhatsApp to Crack Down on Spam and Abuse with This New Feature

WhatsApp to Crack Down on Spam and Abuse with This New Feature
Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
In Short
  • The latest WhatsApp Beta for Android version shows a new feature to restrict users from starting a new chat.
  • This restriction will be imposed for violating WhatsApp guidelines and participating in spam-like activities or sending bulk messages like a bot.
  • It does not completely ban you, and the restriction lifts after a certain amount of time.

With over 3 Billion monthly active users, WhatsApp has become the primary tool for communication, like iMessage around the globe. But this has also led to the app becoming a cesspool for spam and spreading fake information. To fight this issue, WhatsApp will soon restrict users from engaging in a new chat for abusive or spam-like behavior.

This news comes from WABetaInfo, who discovered that the platform is experimenting with a feature to restrict the user account from initiating a new chat in the latest WhatsApp Beta for Android version update. This restriction will last for an undisclosed time, serving as a penalty for certain violations within the app. You can see from the screenshot, starting a new conversation will show this pop-up message stating “Your account is restricted right now”.

WhatsApp Restrict Chat feature
Image Courtesy: WABetaInfo

As to how WhatsApp detects these activities, WABetaInfo detailed that the app uses automatic tools for detecting spam-like behavior, automated/bulk messaging, or other activities that breach their terms of service. The good news here is that these tools cannot read your messages confirming that your privacy is not at stake. Instead, they scan patterns to detect suspicious activities.

It is also worth mentioning that this restriction only bans you from starting a new conversation. You can continue replying to chats and groups that you have engaged with before restriction. The feature is still under development, but it will make its way to your WhatsApp in the future.

In the current climate where elections are taking place in the most influential regions of the world, a feature like this is much appreciated. It will help limit the spread of fake news and propaganda spread by bots and other users. It doesn’t outright ban you but gives you a second chance to correct your actions and become more responsible. Hopefully, you’ll never see this pop-up on your WhatsApp!

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