WhatsApp continues to ban accounts in India, over 16 lakh accounts were banned in April

The messaging platform from Meta(formerly known as Facebook) has to ban certain problematic and abusive accounts, based on the new IT rules of 2021. WhatsApp banned 18 lakh accounts in March, 14.26 lakh in February and 18.58 lakh Indian accounts in January.

According to WhatsApp’s monthly disclosure resort, the messaging platform owned by Meta,  has banned over 16.7 lakh accounts in India in the month of April. Out of these, 122 accounts were banned because of mandatory actions based on user complaints while a bulk of them, about 16.66 lakh accounts, were barred to prevent harmful activity on the app.

WhatsApp continues to ban accounts in India, over 16 lakh accounts were banned in April

"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 monthly report stated.

According to the WhatsApp framework, the app bans an account when it is confident that the user operating the account is abusive on the platform. "Our goal is to identify and stop abusive accounts as quickly as possible, which is why identifying these accounts manually is not realistic. Instead, we have advanced machine learning systems that take action to ban accounts, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," the report said.

The company said it bans the account in several cases, including when an account accumulates negative feedback, such as when other users submit reports or block the account.

The report also said that WhatsApp’s systems evaluate the account and the user’s behaviour,  and takes appropriate actions after an ample number of negative feedback is reported.

The instant mobile messaging firm uses machine learning and other analytical tools to detect "highly-motivated abusers" and ban them from the platform.

Previously, WhatsApp had banned nearly 18 lakh accounts in the month of March and 14.26 lakh accounts in February. In January of 2022, a total of 18.58 lakh Indian accounts were banned. WhatsApp had also banned a number of accounts in 2021 as well. 20.79 lakh Indian accounts were banned by WhatsApp in December 2021 and 17.5 lakh in November of that year.

The new IT rules, which came into effect last year, require digital platforms with over 50 lakh users to publish compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and what actions have been taken to resolve the issues.

Previously, WhatsApp had emphasised that being an end-to-end encrypted platform, it has no visibility into the content of any messages. To overcome this, they rely on a number of behavioural signals from abusive accounts, and how often do people report them. 

Besides the behavioural signals from accounts, WhatsApp AI also relies on available unencrypted information, including user reports, profile photos, group photos and descriptions as well as advanced several other AI tools and resources to detect abuse on its platform.

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