Over 3 million Indian accounts were banned by Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp in the 46 days from 16 June to 31 July 2021, the platform said in its latest compliance report on Tuesday.
In the "interest of preventing online abuse and keeping users safe" on the platform, WhatsApp said it took action against Indian accounts through its "prevention and detection method for violating the laws of India or WhatsApp's Terms of Service". WhatsApp said overall, over 95 per cent of such bans in India were due to the unauthorised use of automated or bulk messaging (spam).
"The global average no. of accounts that we ban to prevent abuse on our platform is around 8 million accounts per month," the WhatsApp statement said.
Of the total 594 grievances received during the period, there were a total of 316 ban appeals, followed by 137 account support, 64 product support, other support (45) and safety (32).
"In accordance with the IT Rules 2021, we've published our second monthly report for the 46 day period of - 16 June to 31 July. This user-safety report contains details of the user complaints received and the corresponding action taken by WhatsApp, as well as WhatsApp's preventive actions to combat abuse on our platform," a WhatsApp spokesperson said.
WhatsApp also said a majority of users who reached out to the company are either aiming to have their account restored following an action to ban them or reaching out for product or account support. "Our top focus is preventing accounts from sending automated bulk spam at scale," it added.
WhatsApp also said it maintains advanced capabilities to identify accounts sending a high or abnormal rate of messages and bans millions of such accounts attempting this kind of abuse in India and across the world.
The number of actions taken had increased significantly since 2019 because WhatsApp's systems have increased in sophistication. "...so we are catching more accounts even as we believe there are more attempts to send bulk or automated messages. We ban the vast majority of these accounts even before we receive complaints in the form of user reports," the company said.