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WhatsApp will use public information to take legal action against bulk senders, other violators from December 7

WhatsApp has announced that from December 7, 2019 it will start taking legal action against people and companies that violate its terms of service by, say, sending automated or bulk messages, or engaging in "non-personal use". Notably, WhatsApp said it would take action even if an entity merely made public claims of an ability to abuse its platform - in ads, for example. Until now, WhatsApp has only taken action against abuses for which it had found evidence on the platform itself. This development is set to have major ramifications in India - one of WhatsApp's key markets with more than 200 million monthly active users - where abuse of the platform is rampant. After rumours on WhatsApp sparked a spate of lynchings last year, the government proposed amendments to the Intermediary Liability Rules to better hold companies responsible for the content exchanged on their platforms. And earlier this year, there were reports of political party workers abusing the platform on a huge scale in the run-up to India's general election. In the blog post, titled 'Unauthorized usage of WhatsApp', the company wrote: "This serves as notice that we will take legal action against companies for which we only have off-platform evidence of abuse if that abuse continues beyond December 7, 2019, or if those companies are linked to on-platform evidence of abuse before that date." A WhatsApp spokesperson told MediaNama in a statement that it has taken action to prevent bulk messaging as it was designed for private messaging. "We've also stepped up our…

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