The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 requires, among other things, all major social media intermediaries with over 5 million users to publish monthly reports that show the grievances received by the Meta-owned service from Indian users and the actions taken by the company against accounts that violated the laws of the country or WhatsApp’s Terms of Service.
Standing at the beginning of June, the instant messaging service released the monthly report for the month of April 2022. It expects to publish subsequent editions of the report 30 days after the reporting period so that there is sufficient time for the collection and validation of data.
During the period (from April 1 to April 30, 2022), the instant messaging giant barred over 1.6 million accounts from India for violating the company’s policies and to prevent harmful activity on its platform. WhatsApp informed that it deploys tools and resources to prevent harmful behavior from occurring on the platform in the first place.
WhatsApp’s system of detecting abuse is active when a user registers to form an account, when they message other users, and in response to negative feedback. Then, its team of analysts augments the systems to evaluate edge cases and help improve the company’s effectiveness over time.
In other cases, WhatsApp revealed in the monthly report that it has received a total of 844 reports for various grievances – 90 for account support, 670 for ban appeal, 34 for product support, 13 for safety support, and 37 for other support (requests that were not consistently classifiable). It took action on 123 reports overall, 122 of which were ban appeals.
While 16.66 lakh seems to be a huge number at first glance, in hindsight it is clear that the number of accounts has decreased over the months. In November and December, the company banned 17.5 lakh and 20.79 lakh Indian accounts (respectively).
This year, in January, WhatsApp banned 18.58 lakh accounts. The number dropped a bit in February – 14.26 lakh – but once again rose in March to reach nearly 18 lakh accounts.