WhatsApp’s Crackdown: Over 69 lakh accounts banned in India for violating terms of service

According to the monthly reports, WhatsApp banned 7,954,000 accounts in March alone. The data reveals a consistent pattern of account bans throughout the year, with the highest number of bans recorded in January at 2,918,000 accounts.

As India gears up for the Lok Sabha elections, WhatsApp has revealed that it banned 69,307,254 accounts in the country between January and November 2023. The Meta-owned messaging platform has been rigorously investigating all reports of fraud and illicit telemarketing on its platform to adhere to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

The company has been releasing monthly reports detailing the actions taken in response to user grievances and accounts actioned for violating Indian laws or WhatsApp’s Terms of Service. These reports are published in accordance with Rule 4(1)(d) of the IT Rules, 2021.

According to the monthly reports, WhatsApp banned 7,954,000 accounts in March alone. The data reveals a consistent pattern of account bans throughout the year, with the highest number of bans recorded in January at 2,918,000 accounts.

WhatsApp highlighted that over 24,378,890 of these accounts were proactively banned before any reports from users were received, demonstrating the platform’s commitment to maintaining a safe and secure messaging environment.

In addition to the account bans, WhatsApp received over 79,000 grievances from users between January and November last year. These grievances covered a range of issues, including account support, ban appeals, product support, and safety concerns.

In response to these grievances, WhatsApp took action against 2,398 accounts. The company clarified that “Accounts Actioned” denotes reports where remedial action was taken, such as banning an account or restoring a previously banned account as a result of the complaint.

WhatsApp acknowledged that not all reports resulted in account actions. The company cited several reasons for this, including users seeking assistance to access their accounts or use specific features, users providing feedback or requesting restoration of banned accounts that did not violate the platform’s policies.

Safeguarding Elections and User Safety

With the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, WhatsApp’s efforts to combat fraud, misinformation, and illicit activities on its platform have taken on heightened importance. The company has launched an integrated safety campaign, ‘Stay Safe with WhatsApp,’ in India to educate users about online safety and responsible messaging practices.

As the election season unfolds, WhatsApp’s commitment to maintaining a secure and trustworthy messaging environment will be crucial in preventing the spread of misinformation and ensuring a fair and transparent electoral process.