New Delhi: Messaging Aap WhatsApp banned over 19 lakh Indian accounts in May as a result of complaints received from users via its channel for grievances and through its own system to prevent and detect violations, according to the most recent monthly report released by the messaging service. The new 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.
Commenting on the new monthly report, a WhatsApp spokesperson said, “In accordance with the IT Rules 2021, we’ve published our report for the month of May 2022. This user-safety report contains details of the user complaints received and the corresponding action taken by WhatsApp, as well as WhatsApp’s own preventive actions to combat abuse on our platform. As captured in the latest Monthly Report, WhatsApp banned over 1.9 million accounts in the month of May.”
“WhatsApp is an industry leader in preventing abuse, among end-to-end encrypted messaging services. Over the years, we have consistently invested in Artificial Intelligence and other state-of-the-art technology, data scientists and experts, and in processes, in order to keep our users safe on our platform,” the spokesperson added.
The IT ministry, last month, circulated the draft rules that propose a government panel to hear user appeals against inaction on complaints made, or against content-related decisions taken by grievance officers of social media platforms. At present, “there is no appellate mechanism provided by intermediaries nor is there any credible self-regulatory mechanism in place”, the ministry had said.
Big social media firms have drawn flak in the past over hate speech, misinformation and fake news circulating on their platforms. Concerns have also been raised about digital platforms acting arbitrarily in pulling down content, and ‘de-platforming’ users. The government had last year notified IT rules to make digital intermediaries more accountable and responsible for content hosted on their platforms.