Mobile messaging platform WhatsApp banned 74,52,500 accounts in India between April 1 and 30, out of which 24,69,700 were proactively banned before any reports from users. The company received over 4,000 grievances involving account support, ban appeal, product support, safety among others.
On Thursday, the company released its April report on June 1 in accordance with Rule 4(1)(d) and Rule 3A(7) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The report stated that WhatsApp, which is under the Meta umbrella, received 4,377 grievance reports in April. These involved account support, ban appeal, product support, safety, and other support (requests that are not consistently classifiable).
WhatsApp took action in response to the ban appeal against 223 of these accounts. “We respond to all grievances received except in cases where a grievance is deemed to be a duplicate of a previous ticket. An account is ‘actioned’ when an account is banned or a previously banned account is restored, as a result of a complaint,” the report stated.
WhatsApp took action after receiving orders from the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC), which began operations on March 1. The panel was formed as there were recurring complaints from online users who either did not know whom to contact for solutions to problems or were dissatisfied with the response from a platform.
According to the report, WhatsApp complied with two orders received from the GAC in April. The report noted that the company, in addition to listening to and acting on user concerns via the grievance channel, employs technologies and resources to prevent harmful behaviour on the network.
“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,” it added.
While mentioning banning accounts in April, the platform said it conducted the process using the abuse detection approach that includes action taken in furtherance to negative feedback from users.