WhatsApp bans over 22 lakh Indian accounts in June

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New Delhi: WhatsApp has banned over 22 lakh Indian accounts in June on the basis of complaints received via its grievance redressal channel and through its own mechanism to detect violations, according to the messaging platform.

This is higher than 19 lakh such accounts banned by WhatsApp in May, 16 lakh accounts in April, and 18.05 lakh such accounts in March.

The new, tougher IT rules, which came into effect last year, mandate large digital platforms (with over 50 lakh users) to publish compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken.

Big social media firms have drawn flak in the past over hate speech, misinformation and fake news circulating on their platforms. At times, concerns have also been flagged over digital platforms acting arbitrarily in pulling down content, and ‘de-platforming’ users.

“As captured in the latest monthly report, WhatsApp banned over 2.2 million accounts in the month of June,” WhatsApp spokesperson said as the Meta-owned platform published its latest monthly update.

The user-safety report has details of the user complaints received and the corresponding action taken by WhatsApp, as well as its own preventive actions to combat abuse on the platform, the spokesperson said.

An Indian account is identified via the +91 phone number prefix.

According to the report, 22.10 lakh Indian accounts were banned by WhatsApp between June 1 and June 30, 2022 using the “abuse detection approach, which also includes action taken in furtherance to negative feedback received from users...”

“Over the years, we have consistently invested in artificial intelligence and other...technology, data scientists and experts, and in processes, in order to keep our users safe on our platform,” the spokesperson further said.

As many as 632 grievance reports were received, and 64 accounts were “actioned” during June 2022.

Of of the total reports received, 426 pertained to ‘ban appeal’ while others were in the categories of account support, product support and safety, among others.

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