WhatsApp Bans 37.16 Lakh Accounts in India Last Month: Monthly Report

Instant messaging platform WhatsApp on Wednesday said it banned 37.16 lakh accounts in India in November, about 60 percent more than the accounts it barred in the preceding month.

The banned WhatsApp accounts in India include 9.9 lakh accounts which were barred proactively before being flagged by users.

In October, WhatsApp had banned 23.24 lakh accounts in the country, including 8.11 lakh accounts which were barred proactively.

“Between November 1, 2022 and November 30, 2022, 3,716,000 WhatsApp accounts were banned. 990,000 of these accounts were proactively banned, before any reports from users. An Indian account is identified via a +91 phone number,” WhatsApp said in its India Monthly Report for November published under the Information Technology Rules 2021.

The 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. Concerns have been flagged by some quarters time and again over digital platforms acting arbitrarily in pulling down content, and ‘de-platforming’ users.

The government last week announced rules for setting up a grievance appeal mechanism against arbitrary content moderation, inaction, or takedown decisions of big tech companies.

WhatsApp received higher number of appeals from user in November to ban accounts compared to October.

It received 946 complaints in November from users, which included appeal to ban 830 accounts. It acted only against 73 accounts.

WhatsApp said it responds to all grievances received except in cases where a grievance is deemed to be a duplicate of a previous ticket.

An account is ‘actioned’ when it is banned or a previously banned account is restored, as a result of a complaint, the report said.

In addition to responding to and actioning on user complaints through the grievance channel, WhatsApp deploys tools and resources to prevent harmful behaviour on the platform, the report said. 

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