How to use WhatsApp responsibly

WhatsApp was built as a simple, secure and reliable way to message other people. Messaging is by its nature private and our Terms of Service are designed to help keep our platform and our users safe. All users of WhatsApp should review the following guidelines to ensure responsible use of WhatsApp.

Best practices

  • Communicate with known contacts: Only send messages to those who have contacted you first or have requested you contact them on WhatsApp. It's best to give contacts your phone number so they can message you first.
  • Ask for permission and respect boundaries: You should get permission from contacts before you add them to a group. If you add someone to a group and they remove themselves, honor their decision.
  • Use group controls: We've created an admin only message setting for WhatsApp groups. If you're an admin, you can decide if all members or only group admins can send messages within the group. Using this feature can help cut down unwanted messages in groups. Learn how to change group admin settings.
  • Think twice before forwarding messages: We created a label for all forwarded messages and limit the number of times you can forward messages as a way to encourage users to reconsider before sharing. If you aren’t sure whether something’s true or don’t know who wrote the message, we don’t recommend forwarding it. Learn more about preventing the spread of misinformation in this article.

Practices to avoid

Using WhatsApp in any of the ways listed below may cause your account to be banned.
  • Unwanted messages: If a contact asks you to stop messaging them, you should remove the contact from your address book and refrain from contacting them again.
  • Automated or bulk messages: Don't bulk message, auto-message, or auto-dial using WhatsApp. WhatsApp uses both machine learning technology and reports from users to detect and ban accounts that send unwanted automated messages. Also, don't create accounts or groups in unauthorized or automated ways, or use modified versions of WhatsApp. For more information on how WhatsApp prevents abuse of automated and bulk messaging, you can read this white paper.
  • Using contact lists that aren’t yours: Don’t share phone numbers without consent or use data obtained from illicit sources to message users on WhatsApp or add them to groups.
  • Over-using broadcast lists: Messages sent using a broadcast list will only be received when users have added your phone number to their contact list. Please keep in mind, frequent use of broadcast messages may lead people to report your messages, and we ban accounts that are reported multiple times.
  • Harvesting personal information: Avoid any automated extraction of information from WhatsApp for any unpermitted purposes. The acquisition of information from users in this way, including phone numbers, user profile pictures, and statuses from WhatsApp violates our Terms of Service.
  • Violating our Terms of Service: As a reminder, our Terms of Service prohibit, amongst other things, publishing falsehoods and engaging in illegal, threatening, intimidating, hateful, and racially or ethnically offensive behavior. You can review our Terms of Service here.

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