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Meta-Owned WhatsApp Banned Over 1.8 Mn Indian Accounts In March 2022

Meta-Owned WhatsApp Banned Over 1.8 Mn Indian Accounts In March 2022

As per WhatsApp’s compliance report, it received 597 grievances in March this year

The grievances included 112 instances of account support, 28 related to other support, 37 related to product support and 13 related to safety

Compared to February, the number of banned accounts rose by 26.57%

Meta-owned WhatsApp banned 18,05,000 Indian accounts during March 1-to March 31, 2022 period, as per its tenth compliance report. The messaging platform received 597 grievances in March, including407 ban appeals, the report said. 

The grievances included 112 instances of account support, 28 related to other support, 37 related to product support and 13 related to safety. WhatsApp “actioned” 74 accounts during the month. 

The number of accounts banned by the messaging app in March was 26.57% higher than in February, when it banned 14,26,000 accounts. WhatsApp had received 335 grievances reports, including 92 instances of account support, 194 banning appeals, 34 related to product and other support, and 13 related to safety, in February. It had “actioned” 21 accounts during the month. 

Besides responding to users’ complaints via the grievance channel, WhatsApp also uses other tools and resources to prevent harmful behavior on its platform. 

Explaining the method of tackling abuse, WhatsApp said, “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 monthly compliance reports are published in accordance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. 

For the past 11 months, WhatsApp has been notifying grievances received from users in India via its grievance mechanisms and accounts actioned in India through its prevention and detection methods for violating the laws of India or WhatsApp’s Terms of Service.

The messaging app has banned over 20 Mn Indian accounts from May 15, 2021 to March 31, 2022. 

Recently, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) had banned 16 YouTube channels under the IT Rules for spreading wrong information pertaining to India’s national security and foreign relations, inciting communal disharmony and disturbing public order in India. 

Of this, 10 were India-based YouTube news channels while six were Pakistan-based.  A Facebook account was also blocked through a separate order issued by the ministry. The decision was taken using emergency powers under Rule 18 of the Information Technology Rules, 2021. 

Earlier in April 2022, the MIB banned 22 YouTube channels, including 18 Indian channels, for spreading fake news. Of these, four YouTube channels were operating out of Pakistan.

In addition, three Twitter handles, a Facebook account and one website were also banned during the exercise.