WhatsApp bans 1.75 million Indian accounts in November last year

Monitoring Desk

NEW YORK: WhatsApp has said it banned 1,759,000 accounts in India in November in compliance with the IT Rules 2021, adding that it got 602 grievance reports in the same month from the country, and took action on 36 of those.

“In accordance with the IT Rules 2021, we’ve published our sixth monthly report for the month of November. This user-safety 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 our platform,” the company said in a statement.

“WhatsApp is an industry leader in preventing abuse, among end-to-end encrypted messaging services. Over the years, we have consistently invested in Artificial Intelligence and other state-of-the-art technology, data scientists and experts, and in processes, in order to keep our users safe on our platform,” it added.

Worth mentioning here is that the social media platform had barred more than 20 lakh accounts in October in India, 500 grievance reports were received by it. WhatsApp has more than 40 crore users in India.

Earlier, the social messaging platform mentioned that over 95 percent of bans are due to the unauthorised use of automated or bulk messaging (spam).

Taking action signifies either barring an account or a formerly banned account being restored as a result of the complaint.

The new IT rules which came into effect in May need large digital platforms (with over 50 lakh users) to publish compliance reports every month, giving the details of complaints received and action taken.

The company has said it will continue to bring more transparency to its work and include more information about its endeavours in future reports.

Earlier, WhatsApp had mentioned that being an end-to-end encrypted platform, it has no visibility into the content of any messages.

How is an Indian account identified

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

Why were these accounts banned

WhatsApp banned these Indian accounts using the company’s abuse detection approach, which also includes action taken in furtherance to negative feedback received from users via the ‘Report’ feature.

What is abuse detection approach

The abuse detection operates at three stages of an account’s lifecycle: At registration, during messaging, and in response to negative feedback, which the company receives in the form of user reports and blocks. A team of analysts augments these systems to evaluate edge cases and help improve our effectiveness over time.

WhatsApp allows users to report accounts

WhatsApp allows users to report accounts that they think are spam, abusive or other issue. The company receives the last five messages sent to the user by the reported user or group, and they are not be notified about this. WhatsApp also receives the reported group or user ID, information on when the message was sent, and the type of message sent (image, video, text, etc.). A user can also choose to report an account by long pressing a single message.

WhatsApp also allows users to themselves block accounts

WhatsApp allows users to block numbers. When you block someone your last seen, online, status updates, and any changes made to your profile photo will no longer be visible to contacts you’ve blocked. Messages, calls, and status updates sent by the contact won’t show up on your phone and won’t be delivered to you.

Where can I see the accounts blocked on WhatsApp

The blocked accounts are visible in the Blocked section (iPhone and KaiOS) or Blocked contacts section (Android) of your WhatsApp settings.

What blocking contact does not do

Blocking a contact won’t remove you from your contacts’ list, nor will it remove you from the list on the contact’s phone. To delete a contact, you must delete the contact from your phone’s address book.