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Why did WhatsApp ban 19 lakh Indian users in May?

WhatsApp revealed the figures as part of mandatory compliance reports by social media intermediaries under IT Rules 2021

What’s happening? Meta’s messaging service WhatsApp banned 19,10,000 Indian accounts between May 1-31, 2022, the company said in its July compliance report. The report adds that the company received a total of 528 grievances in the same period, of which 303 were ban appeals. What kind of complaints did WhatsApp receive? The grievances included 149 complaints related to account support, 29 regarding other support, 34 about product support and 13 more regarding safety, among others. Out of these, WhatsApp has actioned 24 accounts. ‘Accounts actioned’ denotes corrective measures taken based on the complaints raised. In comparison, the messaging platform banned over 16 lakh accounts of Indian users in April, and 18.05 lakh such accounts in March. Why does it matter? WhatsApp has become a medium for the spread of misinformation in India, according to several news reports and studies. A recent investigation also reported that there was a proliferation of inauthentic behaviour among its users. Data from compliance reports give an indication of WhatsApp’s content moderation efforts in India. How does WhatsApp detect abuse? “The abuse detection operates at three stages of an account’s lifestyle: At registration, during messaging, and in response to negative feedback, which we receive in the form of user reports and blocks. A team of analysts augments these systems to evaluate edge cases and help improve our effectiveness over time,” WhatsApp said in the report.  "We respond to all grievances received except in cases where a grievance is deemed to be a duplicate of a previous…

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