Google Messages users in India are being bombarded with ads within Android’s default messaging application. Even if the app’s spam protection function is enabled, users are reporting receiving multiple ads per day, and blocking and reporting off criminal accounts doesn’t seem to stop ads from different companies from appearing. Ads for personal loans, gambling firms, and life insurance appear among the worst offenders.
It appears that companies are abusing an RCS feature that allows enterprises to communicate with customers using rich, interactive media. Customers can be sent QR-code tickets or be able to place orders online. Instead, some Google-identified “verified business” accounts are bombarding Indian users with ads.
It is not clear that currently, the issue is so broad, but Indian-based Ishan Agarwal – whose recent tweets have drawn attention to this issue – tells The Verge that worsened during 2022 problem for them, and they receive now averaging between two to five ads in a day. Android Police reports that the problem is almost a year, and coming into complaints massive amounts of users in India.
Although blocking and reporting accounts prevents specific companies from sending you spam, Android Police reports that the only way to completely stop ads is to disable Messages support for RCS (“chat features” in Settings). According to). It’s a pretty damning measure considering how hard Google is trying to position RCS as the successor to SMS and MMS.