Today was April fools’ day. Well, half of the day. But the second half has seen a rather interesting turn of events. Little Shuttle, a bus booking service by Little taxi app company has a WhatsApp group that is opt in, for those who want to pilot the company’s new Shuttle service.
These are split into the main group for announcements, and separate groups for different routes like Thika Road to Westlands and Mombasa road to Kinoo among others
A third party, a lady hopped on board the group and added a whopping 256 members from these groups and into a group titled SWVL, then changed group permissions to allow only admin to post messages. She then proceeded to post a message asking people to check out what Little Shuttle rival has to offer.
Please check out the Swvl routes. They have more and flexible timings compared to Little. Routes on Eastlands to CBD, the junction mall and Westlands 😊,” posted a Gathoni.
It did not occur to her that this was a data privacy issue to add people to a group without their permission, then proceed to market a brand in there. And yes she represents SWVL, the Bus app company that rivals Little Shuttle.
One of the people in the group asked whether they have an app and she responded to the affirmative. Please note the use of ‘we’ in the response.
“Yes we do. You can use this link https://swvl.com/sign_up.html?code=gathon3vdbh1 to sign up. We also have an ongoing promotion for 50/- rides with the promo code “50N””
She posted a few other messages with one of them being, “Download the app and register. Pick the route Westlands-Ruiru. Select your pick up and drop off stations and the timings you want Apply the promo codes “50N” for 50 bob rides until the 7th of this month and “karibu” for your first 2 free rides Hope to see you guys on board.”
By this time people had left the group in their tens, and this is when several started questioning why they had been added to the group with out their permission.
The lady then changed the group name from ‘SWVL’ to ‘SWVL Promos Unnofficial’, followed by a message from Gathoni downplaying everything.
“Hey guys. The group is just for promo codes so you can be aware of what’s going on 😁”
More people have been leaving the group since, and the lady has since gone silent. The events occur from around 16:30 to 18:30 in real-time.