Instant messaging firm WhatsApp banned 26.85 lakh accounts in India in September, including 8.72 lakh accounts which were barred proactively before being flagged by users, the company said on Tuesday.
The number of accounts blocked in September were 15 per cent more than the 23.28 lakh accounts the messaging platform banned in August.
“Between 1 September, 2022 and 30 September, 2022, 2,685,000 WhatsApp accounts were banned. 872,000 of these accounts were proactively banned, before any reports from users. An Indian account is identified via a +91 phone number,” Whatsapp said in its ‘User Safety Report’ for the month of September.
The tougher IT rules, which came into effect last year, mandate large digital platforms (with over 50 lakh users) to publish compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken.
Big social media firms have drawn flak in the past over hate speech, misinformation and fake news circulating on their platforms. Concerns have been flagged by some quarters time and again over digital platforms acting arbitrarily in pulling down content, and ‘de-platforming’ users.
The government last week announced rules for setting up a grievance appeal mechanism against arbitrary content moderation, inaction, or takedown decisions of big tech companies.
According to the latest WhatsApp report, the platform received 666 grievances in September but took action only against 23.
“In addition to responding to and actioning on user complaints through the grievance channel, WhatsApp also deploys tools and resources to prevent harmful behavior on the platform. We are particularly focused on prevention because we believe it is much better to stop harmful activity from happening in the first place than to detect it after harm has occurred,” the company said.