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WhatsApp banned over 23 lakh Indian accounts in August

WhatsApp has said over 10 lakh of the banned accounts of August were proactively taken down without report from users. A request for review of ban can be made through the "Contact WhatsApp for Support" page that will open on the banned accounts.

NEW DELHI, Oct 6: Meta's messaging platform WhatsApp banned over 23.28 lakh Indian accounts in August this year in compliance with the IT rules while 23.87 lakh accounts were banned in July.

"Between 1 August, 2022 and 31 August, 2022, 2,328,000 WhatsApp accounts were banned. 1,008,000 of these accounts were proactively banned, before any reports from users," WhatsApp said.

For the month of June the figure was over 22 lakhs, May 19 lakhs, April 16 lakhs and March 18.05 lakhs.

WhatsApp said over 10 lakh of the banned accounts of August were proactively taken down without report from users.

According to the IT rules of 2021, digital platforms with over 50 lakh users have to publish compliance reports every month. Hate speech, misinformation and fake news are the common complaints against social media outfits. The rules were to make digital intermediaries more accountable and responsible for content hosted on their platforms.

New rules are also underway to establish grievance appeal mechanism to hear user appeals. "At present, there is no appellate mechanism provided by intermediaries nor is there any credible self-regulatory mechanism in place", the ministry had said.

According to the October 2022 report, WhatsApp received 598 grievance reports of which 19 accounts were actioned. Of the total reports received, 449 pertained to ban appeal, and 14 pertained to safety.

Apart from action on complaints through grievance channel, the messaging platform also deploys tools and resources to identify and prevent harmful behaviour on the platform.

WhatsApp says: "We ban accounts if we believe the account activity violates our Terms of Service, for example if it involves spam, scams or if it puts WhatsApp users' safety at risk. If you think your account was banned by mistake, please email us or tap request a review in the app and we'll look into your case."

An Indian account is identified via a +91 phone number.

How to file grievance if account is banned:

  • Try to open the banned account. A message will pop up at the bottom: Contact WhatsApp for Support.
  • Click on 'Support.'
  • Contact Support page will open. Type the message. Screenshot is optional. Click 'Next'.
  • An Email page opens where one can file the grievance and send.
  • If the account was banned by mistake by the system, it will be restored. Else, in case of any serious violation of Terms of Service, the ban will stay. If the violation is found minor, the account may be given back.
  • One can also tap 'request a review' in the app.
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