WhatsApp blocks 2 million Indian accounts to fight spam

By Diksha Madhok, CNN Business

Whatsapp blocked 2 million Indian user accounts in a month to prevent harmful behavior, the company said in its first-ever compliance report released under the country’s tough new information technology rules.

Under the new rules, which took effect in May, social media companies are required to publish a monthly compliance report detailing the number of complaints they have received from Indian users and the actions they have taken. Global tech companies also need to hire executives locally, who can help regulate content and take swift action in response to legal complaints.

Facebook Ownership The messaging app said more than 95% of the 2 million accounts blocked between May 15 and June 15 were banned “due to unauthorized use of automated or bulk messaging.”

“These numbers have increased dramatically since 2019 because our systems have become more sophisticated,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “Keep in mind that we ban the vast majority of these accounts proactively, without relying on user reports. “

In 2018, the service began restricting the ability of users around the world to transmit messages after viral hoaxes on its platform were accused of a wave of mass violence in India. The company blocks an average of 8 million accounts worldwide per month, she said in a statement.

The app has over 400 million users in India, which is its largest market, and 2 billion users worldwide.

While WhatsApp complies with some aspects of the new rules, it sued the Indian government for one of the requirements. The Indian authorities want companies to find the “first sender” of messages if they are asked to do so. The government has said such requests would only be made in connection with serious crimes, but WhatsApp is concerned that this move effectively ends all guarantees of user privacy by forcing the platform to keep track of every message. .

“Requiring messaging apps to ‘track’ chats is like asking us to keep a fingerprint of every message we send on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally infringe on people’s right to privacy,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement to CNN Business when the lawsuit was filed in May.

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James F. So