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WhatsApp moves to temporary message restrictions to combat spam

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WhatsApp, a widely used messaging platform by Meta, is actively working on an account restriction feature that will temporarily limit an account’s ability to message, as seen in the latest WhatsApp beta for Android

First reported by WABetaInfo, this forthcoming feature is designed to impose temporary penalties on user accounts found violating terms rather than resorting to permanent bans.

Upon account restriction on WhatsApp, users will encounter limitations on initiating new chats for a specified duration. This temporary restriction should deter activities such as abusive spamming, automated messaging, or other breaches of WhatsApp’s terms of service.

Users will see the following message when initiating chats after temporary restriction: “Your account is restricted right now. Recent activity on your account may indicate spam, automated, or bulk messaging.”

Despite these restrictions, users can receive and respond to messages within existing chats and groups, ensuring uninterrupted essential communication.

WhatsApp utilises sophisticated automated tools to discern suspicious behaviour patterns without compromising user privacy through end-to-end encryption. These tools analyse various factors, including message frequency and the presence of automated scripts, to identify potentially harmful conduct.

Source: WABetaInfo

By implementing account restrictions, WhatsApp promotes responsible platform usage while allowing users to rectify their actions without enduring permanent repercussions, unlike outright bans that could result in data loss and disrupt communication histories. Temporary restrictions balance enforcement and user accessibility.

As of now, WhatsApp bans users if they violate the Terms of Service. “We ban accounts if we believe the account activity violates our Terms of Service, for example, if it involves spam or scams or if it puts WhatsApp users’ safety at risk,” notes WhatsApp. However, the platform allows users to request a review if they feel the ban was by mistake.

The feature remains in development and will be available with the coming updates.

WhatsApp scam calls and malicious accounts have wreaked havoc in the past, and due to this, the messaging platform rolled out a Call Silencing feature in India last year.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: