Monday 27 June 2022
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WhatsApp ban slapped on almost 2 million Indian accounts

WhatsApp had insisted that being an end-to-end encrypted platform, it could not read the content of any message, which this development proves was a lie

Popular messaging application WhatsApp banned more than 1.75 million Indian accounts while 602 grievance reports were received by the messaging platform in November 2021, according to its compliance report.

In its latest report, the messaging platform said 17,59,000 Indian accounts were banned on WhatsApp during the period.

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

“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,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said. The spokesperson added that WhatsApp banned over 1.75 million accounts in November.

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

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

Over 2 million Indian accounts were banned by WhatsApp, while 500 grievance reports were received by the messaging platform in October.

WhatsApp, in its latest report, said it has received 602 user reports, spanning across account support (149), appeal (357), other support (21), product support (48) and safety (27) during November 2021.

During this period, 36 accounts were “actioned” under the appeal category based on the reports received.

WhatsApp explained that “Accounts Actioned” denotes reports where it took remedial action.

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 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 – require large digital platforms (with over 5 million users) to publish compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken.

Previously, WhatsApp had insisted it was an end-to-end encrypted platform and hence had 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.

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