Many have been complaining that businesses in India have been abusing Google Messages’ RCS (Rich Communication Services) feature to spam users with advertisements. To put an end to this problem, Google has disabled RCS ads in the country entirely.
Google spokesperson Kaori Miyake spoke to The Verge about this decision, “We are aware that some businesses are abusing our anti-spam policies to send promotional messages to users in India. We are disabling this feature in India while we work with the industry to improve the experience for users”.
Multiple business accounts have been taking advantage of their verified business profiles to bombard users with unsolicited ads. Advertisements for personal loans, life insurance, and even gambling companies were some of the regular spammers. Some users had taken to Twitter to air their grievances regarding such unwanted messages.
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Such businesses have been including rich, interactive media in the ads. They have been misusing their “Verified Business” profiles to send users in India a deluge of spam messages.
While blocking and reporting such accounts will stop those specific businesses from messaging you again, it doesn’t prevent other accounts from spamming you. The only way to put an end to it was to disable Messages’ support for RCS. This was a double-edged sword, as you would not be able to enjoy the features of RCS, notably end-to-end encryption. You would miss out on other functions too, such as typing indicators, improved interactivity, and rich media.
Thus, Google’s decision to turn off business messaging in India is a welcome move. However, this looks like a temporary fix. It remains to be seen how Google will tackle this issue and offer a permanent solution.