Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp said that it banned more than 2.9 million accounts in India in the first month of the year 2023 (January). The number is much lower in comparison to the 3.6 million accounts that it blocked in the previous month, December 2022. Between January 1 and January 31, “2,918,000 WhatsApp accounts were banned. 1,038,000 of these accounts were proactively banned, before any reports from users,” the company said in its monthly compliance report. An Indian account is identified via a +91 phone number. WhatsApp has nearly 500 million users in India.
The report is published in accordance with Rule 4(1)(d) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. It is based on the grievances received from users in India via the grievance mechanisms of WhatsApp. Accounts actioned in India through the company’s prevention and detection methods for violating the laws of India or WhatsApp’s Terms of Service.
WhatsApp ‘Accounts Actioned’ and more
The company said that it received around 1,461 grievance reports in January and “actioned” 195 of those complaints. “This report contains details of the user complaints received and the corresponding action taken by WhatsApp, as well as WhatsApp’s own preventive actions to combat abuse on our platform,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said. “‘Accounts Actioned’ denotes reports where we took remedial action based on the report. Taking action denotes either banning an account or a previously banned account being restored as a result of the complaint,” the spokesperson added.
The company said that it responds to all grievances received except in cases where a grievance is deemed to be a duplicate of a previous ticket. An account is ‘actioned’ when an account is banned or a previously banned account is restored, as a result of a complaint.