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WhatsApp Banned Over 2 Mn Indian Accounts In August 2021: Compliance Report

WhatsApp Banned Over 2 Mn Indian Accounts In August 2021: Compliance Report

WhatsApp banned 2.07 Mn Indian accounts (numbers starting with +91), due to “unauthorised” use of bulk messaging

The company received 420 reports of grievances in total following which it “actioned” 41 accounts

After the New IT Rules made it mandatory to file a compliance report, from May 15 to August 31, WhatsApp has banned over 7 Mn Indian accounts

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has banned 2,070,000 Indian accounts in August 2021, as per its latest compliance report. The messaging platform banned around 3 Mn Indian accounts between June 15 and July 31, 2021, and 2 Mn from May 15 to June 15, 2021 — taking the total count to 7 Mn in 3.5 months.

WhatsApp received 420 user reports spanning across account support (105), ban appeal (222), other support (34), product support (42) and safety (17) during August. The platform, however, “actioned” 41 accounts i.e. took remedial actions such as banning or restoring a previously banned account.

The messaging platform received a total of 594 complaints from June 16 to July 31, where it took remedial action against 74 accounts. It also received a total of 345 reports of grievances from May 15 to June 15, following which it banned 63 accounts.

WhatsApp in its support page revealed that when it gets user complaints through the grievance channel, the messaging app deploys tools and resources to prevent harmful behaviour on the platform. 

Interestingly, under WhatsApp’s ‘Safety in India’ page, the company has disclosed it ideally bans around 2 Mn accounts per month that are engaged in bulk or automated messaging to prevent the spreading of misinformation. It further goes on to say that of these 2 Mn accounts, 75% of the accounts are banned by WhatsApp without a recent user report.

According to the Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021, social media platforms with more than 5 Mn users base in India have to appoint a chief compliance officer, grievance officer, and a nodal contact person who all are residents of India. Apart from other responsibilities as per the new guidelines, these platforms have to submit their compliance report every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and actions taken against them. 

In August 2021, as per its compliance report, homegrown micro-blogging platform Koo actioned 48,985 posts/accounts, including 6,000 reported in spam and proactive spam moderation. Meanwhile, tech giant Google last provided a compliance report for June 1 to June 30, 2021 — it received 36,265 complaints, and removed 526,866 content, based on its automated detection.

In line with compliance with the New IT Rules, Twitter, while still not providing a compliance report, has recently appointed a chief compliance officer, a grievance officer, and a nodal contact person, hinting that a report will be available shortly.

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