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Indian businesses are abusing Google Messages RCS feature to spam ads on users' feed

Google Messages RCS messaging feature is being abused by advertisers and malicious organizations in India. Although nothing new, RCS messaging is a feature implemented by Google in its Google Messages application which serves as a replacement for the traditional SMS text.

In the past, numerous reports have been shared by US users about businesses advertising their services and products via SMS texts and now the same is the case with RCS messaging. Now that Google Messages is available for everyone, in India specifically, users have brought their complaints to Google about annoying messages by marketers.

Like US users, Indian users are also getting ads based on their online activity or recent purchases from businesses. Google Messages was built to allow ease of communication between users and businesses.


H/T: Ishan Agarwal / Twitter.

Using Google Messages users can inquire with a business' support center easily and resolve their issue. For example, users could book train tickets by messaging the relevant business directly. The app also allowed businesses to advertise their services via RCS messaging feature.

But in India, many 'verified businesses' are abusing the RCS messaging feature to advertise malicious services and spam them on users' feeds. Some prominent names include the Bajaj finserv, PolicyBazaar, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Buddy Loan used as examples by Android Police. Ads like these have been around for two years now but they're appearing more and more frequently in the past few months.

Advertisers are also spamming ads of harmful services such as loan ads which have a reputation of being very unsafe for general users. As for now, India has been the hot destination for these kinds of ads.

Users are allowed the ability to report these ads to Google and their advertisers can also be blocked manually by users. Users can alternatively disable the RCS messaging feature entirely for a surefire way to avoid these ads. Although it is a drastic step which limits the Google Messages app, it is still not a big issue for the region of India since people mainly use the WhatsApp messaging app and other chatting apps to communicate.

H/T: 9to5G.

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