2 million Indian accounts banned during May-June: WhatsApp

Focus on harmful messages: WhatsApp

July 15, 2021 10:46 pm | Updated July 16, 2021 10:28 am IST - New Delhi

The WhatsApp app is seen on a smartphone on July 13, 2021.

The WhatsApp app is seen on a smartphone on July 13, 2021.

WhatsApp banned 2 million Indian accounts to prevent harmful behaviour and spam on its platform between May 15 and June 15, according to the company’s first monthly transparency report released on Thursday.

“Our top focus is preventing accounts from sending harmful or unwanted messages at scale. We maintain advanced capabilities to identify these accounts sending a high or abnormal rate of messages and banned 2 millions accounts in India alone from May 15-June 15 attempting this kind of abuse,” the platform said.

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The company identifies an Indian account via +91 phone number.

Stating that more than 95% of such bans are due to the unauthorised use of automated or bulk messaging, the company added that these numbers have increased significantly since 2019 because its systems have increased in sophistication, and hence are detecting more accounts even as it believes there are more attempts to send bulk or automated messages.

“We ban the vast majority of these accounts proactively, without relying on any user reports,” the Facebook-owned firm said. Globally, the monthly average of accounts banned or disabled on the platform is about 8 million. The company also received 345 grievances from users during the period relating to issues such as ban appeal, product support, account support, safety support. Of this, the company took remedial action in 63 instances. The majority of users who reach out to WhatsApp are either aiming to have their account restored following an action to ban them or reaching out for product or account support.

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In a statement, it said besides the behavioural signals from accounts, WhatsApp relies on available unencrypted information including user reports, profile photos and group photos and descriptions, besides deploying advanced AI tools and resources to detect and prevent abuse on its platform.

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