WhatsApp has released its second “User Safety Monthly Report,” where it has claimed to ban over three million Indian accounts during a 46 day period from June 16 to July 31. The company claims to have banned these accounts in the interest of preventing online abuse and keeping WhatsApp users safe. The banned accounts include accounts actioned through the company’s own prevention and detection methods, and via user reports or grievances received by it. Also Read - How to send disappearing photos and videos on WhatsApp in a few simple steps
WhatsApp states that its top focus is to prevent accounts from sending automated bulk spam at scale. Apart from behavioural signals, the company has also relied on unencrypted information like user reports, profile photos, and group photos and descriptions, besides deploying advanced AI tools and resources to detect and prevent abuse on the platform. Also Read - WhatsApp multi-device feature beta starts rolling out for all iOS users: Report
The company has stated that more than 95 percent of bans in India are due to the unauthorized use of automated or bulk messaging. It adds that the majority of the requests from users are either aiming to have their account restored following an action to ban them or reaching out for product or account support. It identifies an Indian account via a +91 phone number. Also Read - WhatsApp voice transcription feature could launch soon: How it will work
The company states to have received a total of 594 grievances from users during the period relating to various issues such as ban appeal, product support, account support, safety support. Out of which, it took remedial action in 74 instances (73 were ban appeals).
“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 in a public statement. “abuse detection operates at three stages of an account’s lifecycle: at registration, during messaging, and in response to negative feedback, which it receives in the form of user reports and blocks,” it added.