WhatsGoingOn? – WhatsApp Bans WhatsBot in No Time
What does a big, rich company do when someone creates an interesting and nicely-written extension to their application? You might answer promote it, or at least let it exist. Not always.
There are some brands that prefer foul play. One of them is well known and there is a big chance that you have it in your app drawer or even used it right before reading this article: WhatsApp.
Ever since its initial release, which took place almost 6 years ago, WhatsApp gained much on popularity. It has almost 900 million users that send countless messages every day. Said application is worth billions of dollars, so we, the users, should expect it to be great. WhatsApp is not so great. In the last few weeks, the team behind it showed its true intentions doing some rather questionable moves… again. Ad rem.
No longer than a week ago folks from r/Android discovered that WhatsApp blocks linking to Telegram communicator. This was a first signal that something wrong was going on. We can only assume that it was a mistake or a leftover from some internal anti-spam testing. Unluckily for users, WhatsApp went even a step further.
During the TechCrunch Disrupt London 2015 hackathon a WhatsBot had been created. As its name suggests, it’s a bot that uses some variables to find a best meet-up point for friends.
To be more specific, it uses a combination of (lightweight) “artificial intelligence”, location data and mapping to find a coffee shop between all participants. It can even add some humor to the conversation as developers implemented funny comments and reactions. WhatsApp’s developers found it malicious and decided to ban the bot.
The company’s decision is malicious, mostly to its users. WhatsBot is a brilliant idea that saves loads of time for WhatsApp users that enjoy it. This is not a first time when WhatsApp decided to use its famous Cease & Desist strategy. If you are familiar with XDA forum for more than two years, you might have noticed that XDA received a notice about WhatsApp Plus – a mod that was the biggest extension written by a WhatsApp user. We wrote an analysis of the problem (and the hypocrisy of it), which we recommend reading. It’s not a strategy that pleases power users,but WhatsApp and Facebook don’t think that a few millions of users are worth to change the strategy.
The saddest thing is that you can’t test WhatsBot in its current form. WhatsApp has blocked the number used by the service. It’s very unlikely to see any other modifications like it being allowed to exist freely. We can only hope that WhatsApp will reconsider its standing regarding third party add-ons. We, as XDA would love to see this coming.
What do you think about WhatsApp’s decision? Was banning WhatsBot a good call? We’d love to hear some opinions from you in the comments!