3 million Indian accounts banned by WhatsApp between June 16 and July 31

New Delhi, August 31

Over three million Indian accounts were banned by WhatsApp while 594 grievance reports were received by the messaging platform between June 16-July 31, according to its compliance report.

In its latest report released on Tuesday, WhatsApp said 3,027,000 Indian accounts were banned on WhatsApp during the said period.

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An Indian account is identified via a +91 phone number, it added.

Previously, WhatsApp has stated that more than 95 per cent of bans are due to the unauthorised use of automated or bulk messaging (spam). The global average number of accounts that WhatsApp bans to prevent abuse on its platform is around 8 million accounts per month.

WhatsApp, in its latest report, said it received 594 user reports spanning across account support (137), ban appeal (316), other support (45), product support (64) and safety (32) during June 16-July 31. During this period, 74 accounts were “actioned”, as per the report.

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WhatsApp explained that “Accounts Actioned” denotes reports where it took remedial action based on the report. Taking action denotes either banning an account or a previously banned account being restored as a result of the complaint.

Also, reports may have been reviewed but not included as ‘Actioned’ for many reasons, including the user needing assistance to access their account or to use some features, user requested restoration of a banned account and the request is denied, or if the reported account does not violate the laws of India or WhatsApp’s Terms of Service.

In a statement, the Facebook-owned company said its latest report contains details of the user complaints received and the corresponding action taken by WhatsApp, as well as WhatsApp’s own preventive actions to combat abuse on its platform.

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Over the years, the platform has consistently invested in Artificial Intelligence and other state of the art technology, data scientists and experts, and in processes, in order to keep its users safe on the platform, a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

“In accordance with the IT Rules 2021, we’ve published our second monthly report for the 46 day period of – 16 June to 31 July,” the spokesperson added.

The new IT rules – which came into effect on May 26 require large digital platforms (with over 5 million users) to publish compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken.

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Previously, WhatsApp has emphasised that being an end to end encrypted platform, it has no visibility into the content of any messages.

Besides the behavioural signals from accounts, it relies on available “unencrypted information” including user reports, profile photos, group photos and descriptions as well as advanced AI tools and resources to detect and prevent abuse on its platform, it had said. PTI

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