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More than 10 million banned accounts were proactively removed before any notification from users, WhatsApp said
WhatsApp banned more than 23.28 lakh Indian accounts in August, of which more than 10 lakh accounts were proactively removed before any notification from users, the messaging platform said on Saturday.
This is less than in the previous month. WhatsApp banned more than 23.87 million Indian accounts in July.
“Between August 1, 2022 and August 31, 2022, 2,328,000 WhatsApp accounts were banned. 1,008,000 of these accounts were proactively banned, even before users reported it,” WhatsApp said in its monthly compliance report.
An Indian account is identified using the phone number +91.
In June, WhatsApp blocked more than 22,000 Indian accounts based on complaints received through its grievance redressal channel and through its own breach detection mechanism. Earlier, WhatsApp banned 19 million such accounts in May, 16 million accounts in April and 18.05 million in March.
Tougher IT rules that came into effect last year mandate large digital platforms (with more than 50 million users) to publish monthly compliance reports detailing complaints received and action taken.
In the past, major social media companies have attracted hate speech, misinformation and fake news to circulate on their platforms. Some quarters have repeatedly raised concerns about digital platforms arbitrarily downloading content and “deplatforming” users.
The government is in the midst of formulating new social media standards that propose giving users an appeals mechanism against arbitrary content moderation, inaction or takedown decisions by major tech companies.
According to the latest report, between August 1 and August 31, 2022, as many as 598 complaint notices were received and 19 accounts were “banned”.
Of the total number of messages received, 449 were related to “ban appeal,” while others were in the account support, product support, and security categories, among others.
“We respond to all complaints received except when the complaint is considered to be a duplicate of a previous ticket. An account is “affected” when an account is banned or a previously banned account is reinstated as a result of a complaint,” the report said.
In June, the IT ministry circulated draft rules proposing a panel to hear appeals by users against inaction on complaints filed or against content-related decisions taken by social media platforms’ grievance officers.
Currently, “there is no appeal mechanism provided by intermediaries, nor is there any credible self-regulatory mechanism,” the ministry said.
The government last year announced IT rules to make digital intermediaries more accountable for the content hosted on their platforms.
In its compliance report, WhatsApp said: “We will continue to be transparent about our work and include information about our efforts in future reports.”