Why WhatsApp has banned 2 million Indian accounts in a month?

In an unprecedented fashion, global messaging giant WhatsApp has revealed that it has banned two million Indian accounts in a month- between May 15 and June 15. The Facebook-owned messaging platform has disclosed its maiden monthly compliance report, which was mandated by the new Information and Technology provisions adopted by the Union government. WhatsApp has released a statement on Thursday in which it has said that 95% of the total bans are due to the unauthorized use of automated or bulk messaging, including spam. 

Besides banning two million accounts in India, WhatsApp has highlighted that it has received 345 grievance reports between the same period. Some of the grievance reports include account support, ban appeal, product support, and safety issues. Of these reports, the platform has taken action against 63 accounts in a month. In its statement, WhatsApp has said, "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 two million accounts in India alone from May 15 to June 15 attempting this kind of abuse", the platform added. It has further said, "We expect to publish subsequent editions of the report 30-45 days after the reporting period to allow sufficient time for data collection and validation." 

The social media giant has underlined that the number of accounts banned has risen significantly since 2019 as the sophistication of systems has increased. It has noted that most of these accounts are banned even without the grievance report from the user and about eight million accounts are banned globally on an average per month. It also has asserted that the reports received by the platform through the grievance channels are keenly evaluated and the company is responding to the reports. 

According to WhatsApp, the majority of users who reach out to the company are aiming to have their account restored after facing a ban and reaching out for product or account support. Based on a complaint either to ban or restore the account, the company would take action and it will be denoted "Accounts Actioned". The revelation from WhatsApp has come as per the mandated rule of the Union government. The new IT rules had directed the digital platforms with over five million users to publish compliance reports every month in which the platforms have to mention the details of the complaints received from the users and the appropriate actions taken. 

According to reports, the new IT rules came into force on May 26 and the government has claimed that the IT rules are aimed to prevent abuse and misuse of digital platforms and offer users a forum to address their issues. As per the rules, social media platforms must remove the content of nudity and pornography within 24 hours. While WhatsApp has published its compliance report on Thursday, other social media platforms like Google, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Koo had already published their reports.