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HIGHLIGHTS

  • WhatsApp says that the first report captures data for the period from May 15 to June 15 2021.
  • The messaging app says that by “taking action”, it means it has either banned an account or restored based on the inputs or complaints it has received.
  • WhatsApp revealed that it banned a total of 2,011,000 user accounts in India in a month.

WhatsApp on Thursday published its first intermediary guidelines report in compliance with the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The Facebook-owned messaging app revealed that it banned over 29 lakh accounts between May 15 – June 15, 2021.

The company further shared some details around the ban and added that over 95 per cent of such account bans are because of unauthorized use of automated or bulk messaging which can be classified as Spam. WhatsApp adds that the global monthly average is about 8 million accounts banned or disabled every month.

The messaging app has also shared a breakdown of the grievances it received from various parties between May 15 to June 15, 2021. As per the first intermediary guidelines report, the messaging app received 70 requests for account support and 204 ban appeals, of which the app banned 63 accounts.

Earlier this month, WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook released its first monthly report in compliance with new IT rules.

“We respond to all grievances received except in cases where a grievance is deemed to be a duplicate of the previous ticket. An account is actioned if an account is banned or a previously banned account is restored as a result of the complaint,” WhatsApp said in its report.

“In addition to responding to and actioning on user complaints through the unauthorized, WhatsApp also deploys tools and resources to prevent harmful behaviour on the platform. We are particularly focused on prevention because we believe it is much better to stop harmful activity from happening in the first place than to detect it after harm has occurred,” the company adds in its report.

Further, explaining how it tackles abuse detection on its platform, the company adds, “The abuse detection operates at three stages of an account’s lifestyle: at registration; during messaging; and in response to negative feedback, which we receive in the form of user reports and blocks. A team of analysts augments these systems to evaluate edge cases and help improve our effectiveness over time.”

The messaging app clarifies that the banned accounts include Indian numbers, and it identifies these numbers via a +91 phone number.

WhatsApp has also given a rough timeline on how frequently it will publish such intermediary guidelines reports. “We expect to publish subsequent editions of the report 30-45 days after the reporting period to allow sufficient time for data collection and validation,” it said.

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