On Wednesday, instant messaging service Whatsapp said it banned over 37.16 lakh accounts between November 1 and November 30 for violating the country’s law or the Platform’s terms of service. Among these, 9.9 lakh accounts were banned proactively before being flagged by users. This is 60 per cent more than the preceding month.
A company spokesperson stated, “WhatsApp is an industry leader in preventing abuse among end-to-end encrypted messaging services. Over the years, we have consistently invested in Artificial Intelligence and other state-of-the-art technology, data scientists and experts, and processes to keep our users safe on our Platform.”
Moreover, WhatsApp, in its India Monthly Report for November, published under the Information Technology Rules 2021. Clarifies that – between November 1, 2022, and November 30, 2022, 3,716,000 accounts were banned. Moreover, 990,000 of these accounts were proactively banned before any reports from the users.
WhatsApp and the new IT Rules 2021
WhatsApp published these numbers as part of the guidelines under the new IT Rules 2021. That mandates big digital and social media platforms, with more than 5 million users, to publish monthly compliance reports, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken.
Social media firms, in the past, have drawn criticism over hate speech, misinformation and fake news circulating on their platforms. However, last week, the government announced rules for setting up a grievance appeal mechanism against arbitrary content moderation, inaction, or takedown decisions of big tech companies.
The report clarifies that the Platform received more appeals in November to ban accounts than in the preceding month. As per the report, it received 946 complaints from users in November, which included an appeal to ban 830 accounts. However, the Platform took action only against 73 accounts. The report clarifies that the Platform responds to all grievances received except in cases where a grievance is a duplicate of a previous ticket.
How it all works?
The Platform deploys tools and resources to prevent harmful behaviour on the Platform, as per the report. The company further explains that WhatsApp’s abuse detection operates at three stages of an account’s lifestyle. At registration, during messaging, and in response to negative feedback, in the form of user reports and blocks. It can ban accounts that spread false information, forward an unverified message to multiple contacts, and more.
The Platform has also taken several initiatives to combat such instances, including verifying external links, limiting forward messages and more. Thus, involvement in activities considered harmful by the platform might result in banning your account.
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