WhatsApp bans over two million Indian accounts

Monitoring Desk

CALIFORNIA: Over two million Indian accounts were banned by WhatsApp, while 528 grievance reports were received by the messaging platform in December 2021, according to its compliance report.

In its latest report, WhatsApp said 20,79,000 Indian accounts were banned on WhatsApp during the said period. An Indian account is identified via a +91 phone number, it added.

Previously, the Meta-owned company had stated that more than 95 percent of bans are due to the unauthorised use of automated or bulk messaging (spam).

Over 1.75 million Indian accounts were banned by WhatsApp, while 602 grievance reports were received by the messaging platform in November.

WhatsApp, in its latest report, said it has received 528 user reports spanning across account support (149), ban appeal (303), other support (29), product support (34) and safety (13) during December 2021.

During this period, 24 accounts were cumulatively “actioned” under the ban appeal category (23) and other support (1) based on the reports received.

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.

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

Previously, WhatsApp had 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.