WhatsApp banned 2 million Indian accounts


National: Facebook owned messaging giant WhatsApp banned two million Indian accounts for abusing the platform’s services between 15 May and 15 June, the company said in its first compliance report published under India’s new IT Rules. More than 95% of these bans are due to unauthorized use of automated or bulk messaging, the company said. The compliance report will be published every 30-45 days from hereon.

“The abuse detection operates at three stages of an account’s lifestyle: at registration; during messaging; and in response to negative feedback, which we receive 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,” the company said in the report. Indian accounts are those registered with the suffix +91.

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Further, the company’s grievance officer received a total of 345 requests during the period. This includes 70 account support queries, 204 appeals to a ban, 20 other support queries, 43 product support queries and 8 pertaining to user safety issues. The company actioned 63 of these requests.

The platform didn’t disclose how many information requests it received from the government. WhatsApp is currently fighting a case against the Indian government, opposing the traceability clause in India’s new IT Rules, which requires platforms to trace the first originator of a message within the country.

“WhatsApp is an industry leader among end-to-end encrypted messaging services in preventing and combating abuse. In line with the requirements of India’s Intermediary Guidelines, 2021, today we have published our first edition of the monthly Report,” the company said in a statement today.

Significant social media intermediaries, which is defined as any intermediary with over 5 million users in India, are required to publish monthly compliance reports under India’s new IT Rules. WhatsApp’s parent Facebook, microblogging giant Twitter and Search giant Google had also published these reports earlier this month.

Twitter also published its global transparency report, in which it said that India was the “single largest source” of government information requests. The country accounted for 25% of all information requests received during the July-December 2020 period.