Facebook-owned popular messaging platform WhatsApp on Thursday evening (July 15) revealed that it has banned around 2 Mn Indian accounts between May 15 and June 15, 2021. Complying with Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021, the company in its first compliance report said it banned a total of 2,011,000 accounts based on WhatsApp’s abuse detection approach.
Shedding light on how it tackles abuse, the company 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 company revealed that during the before-mentioned period it has received 345 reports of grievances in total following which it has banned 63 accounts. It received 70 complaints about account support, 204 for ban appeal, 43 for product support, 8 complaints related to safety issues, and 20 in others.
The company further clarified that it responds to all grievance requests except in cases where WhatsApp deems a grievance to be a duplicate of the previous complaint. “An account is actioned if an account is banned or a previously banned account is restored as a result of the complaint,” the report read.
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.
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.