Indian Google Messages users are facing a deluge of ads in Android’s default messaging app, 9to5Google reports. Users report sending several ads per dayeven if they activate the anti-spam protection function of the application, and blocking and reporting the offending accounts doesn’t seem to prevent ads from different companies from appearing. Many of the worst offenders seem to be ads for personal loans, gambling companies, and life insurance.
Like 9to5Google notes, companies seem to be abuse an RCS function designed to enable businesses to connect with their customers with rich, interactive media. Examples listed on Google’s site include sending QR code tickets to customers or allowing them to place orders online. Instead, some accounts that Google identifies as “Verified Business” send users in India a deluge of ads.
It’s unclear how widespread the issue is currently, but India-based Ishan Agarwal – whose recent tweets have drawn attention to the issue – says The edge that for him the problem worsened during the year 2022 and that he now receives on average between two and five advertisements per day. android font reports that the issue has been around for about a year and the complaints seem to come overwhelmingly from India-based users.
Although blocking and reporting accounts prevents some companies from continuing to spam you, android font reports that the only way to completely stop receiving ads is to disable RCS support for Messages (under “Chat Features” in Settings). That’s a pretty damning metric to take considering how hard Google has pushed RCS as the successor to SMS and MMS.
Google did not respond to The edgerequest for comment.