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WhatsApp bans over 71 lakh accounts in India in November 2023 on policy violation

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Meta-owned instant messaging platform Whatsapp banned more than 71 lakh accounts in November 2023 in India, a move to combat online scams and enforce compliance with IT regulations.

In a monthly report published on January 1, 2024, under the IT Rules, 2021, 71,96,000 accounts were banned by WhatsApp in the period between the 1st of November to the 30th of November. Out of the total banned accounts, 19,54,000 accounts were banned proactively by the company before any of these accounts were reported.

The company’s latest monthly compliance report highlights a significant increase in the number of banned accounts compared to previous periods. In 2022, WhatsApp banned 37.16 accounts in November and 23.24 lakh accounts in the month of October in India.

This rise is attributed to the growing menace of online scams, particularly those that exploit instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp. In addition to the bans, WhatsApp received and actioned 8,841 complaints in the same month. The types of complaints and violations leading to these bans typically include spam, fake news, and other forms of misuse that violate the platform’s terms of service.

“We enable users to block contacts and to report problematic content and contacts to us from inside the app. We pay close attention to user feedback and engage with specialists in stemming misinformation, promoting cybersecurity, and preserving election integrity,” WhatsApp said.

WhatsApp claims to be “an industry leader among end-to-end encrypted messaging services in preventing and combating abuse.” It has been leveling up its security features frequently with its updated versions and enabling users to avail features like end-to-end encryption, muting unknown numbers, locking chats and thereby making the platform a safe messaging platform. 

 WhatsApp’s measures to ensure user safety in India include features such as two-step verification, a Touch ID or Face ID-enabled locking feature, limits on forwarded messages through labels, privacy controls on active status, display picture and sharing statuses, enabling of disappearing messages, and so on. 

Other advanced facilities like fact-checking within WhatsApp through the IFCN bot and campaign-driven actions like “Share Joy, Not Rumours,’ to address misinformation, besides collaborating with the Election Commission of India through the establishment of a high-priority channel to observe the voluntary code of ethics and to encourage the essence of transparency during elections, make Whatsapp a credible platform. 

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