WhatsApp has banned a total of 2.209 million accounts in the month of September in India, reveals the latest monthly transparency report published to comply with the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. WhatsApp says the accounts were banned in the interest of preventing online abuse and keeping the user experience safe and spam-free. It bans accounts based on user complaints, mails received from the India Grievance Officer, and using its own automated tools to prevent harmful behaviour on the platform.
In its fourth monthly transparency report, WhatsApp has confirmed that a total of 309 ban appeals were made by users and the India Grievance Officer during September out of which 50 accounts were ‘actioned’. A total of 560 user queries were received in the same timeframe. Out of this, 309 were ban appeals, 121 were queries regarding account support, and 49 reports were received by WhatsApp regarding product and other support. There were 32 reports received by WhatsApp regarding safety as well.
The data published by WhatsApp is from September 1 to September 30. Bans actioned by WhatsApp through reports from users and the India Grievance Officer were only 50. All the rest of the 2.209 million accounts banned in September were detected through WhatsApp’s own tools and resources to stop harmful behaviour on the platform.
These tools, WhatsApp says, are able to detect abuse at three stages of an account’s lifestyle — at registration, during messaging, and in response to negative feedback, which it receives in the form of user reports and blocks. In a statement, a WhatsApp spokesperson said, “In accordance with the IT Rules 2021, we’ve published our fourth monthly report for the 30day period of – 01 September to 30 September. This user-safety report contains details of the user complaints received and the corresponding action taken by WhatsApp, as well as WhatsApp’s own preventive actions to combat abuse on our platform.” In August, WhatsApp banned a total of 2.06 million accounts in India. A total of 420 user queries were received in this month by users and the India Grievance Officer. Out of this, 222 were ban appeals, 105 were queries regarding account support, and 76 reports were received by WhatsApp regarding product and other support. There were 17 reports received by WhatsApp regarding safety as well.