WhatsApp bans over 7.4 mn Indian accounts in April to prevent online abuse

In terms of user grievances, the platform received around 4,377 complaints

Image courtesy: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Image courtesy: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Sourabh Lele New Delhi

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Instant messaging platform WhatsApp on Thursday said it banned over 7.4 million Indian accounts in April — around a 60 per cent increase month-on-month — due to possible user harm activities such as online abuse.

The popular messenger app has recently come under scrutiny over increasing spam calls from international numbers. The platform has taken down 7,452,500 Indian accounts, out of which 2,469,700 were proactively banned, before any reports from users. In March, the company had taken down around 4.7 million Indian accounts.

An Indian account is identified via a +91 phone number. WhatsApp provided these details under its monthly report for April 2023, as required by Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. 

WhatsApp’s abuse detection operates at three stages of an account’s life: at registration, during messaging, and in response to negative feedback the company receives in the form of user reports and blocks. In addition to responding to user complaints through the grievance channel, WhatsApp also deploys tools and resources to prevent harmful behaviour on the platform.

According to a WhatsApp spokesperson’s statement earlier this month, the platform has ramped up its AI & ML systems to bring down incidents like spam calls “significantly.” The recent enforcement was supposed to reduce spam calls by at least 50 per cent.

In terms of user grievances, the platform received around 4,377 complaints. 

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Out of these, some 4,100 were related to appeals to the ban. However, action was taken on only 234 accounts, the data shows.  

First Published: Jun 1 2023 | 8:53 PM IST

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