WhatsApp bans over 71 lakh dubious accounts in India in November 2023. This stringent action was taken under the new IT Rules 2021 following a surge in cases of fraudsters exploiting the messaging platform to carry out scams.
WhatsApp is considered to be the most widely used messaging platform in India with a user base exceeding 500 million. It has proactively banned 19,54,000 accounts between November 1 and November 30 even before receiving any user reports. This particular information was disclosed by the company in its monthly compliance report. This move reflects its commitment to user safety and adherence to the regulatory framework.
The ban came in as a response to the alarming increase in online scams during 2023 where perpetrators often utilized WhatsApp as a means to contact and deceive their victims. The Indian government intervened urging the platform to take decisive action to curb the rising trend of fraudulent activities on its platform.
According to the compliance report, WhatsApp came across 8,841 complaint reports in November alone. Here, “Account actioned” refers to instances where WhatsApp took corrective measures based on these reports either by banning an account or reinstalling a previously banned account.
In addition to the ban on suspicious accounts, WhatsApp’s user-safety report shed light on the preventive measures implemented by the platform to curb abuse. The introduction of the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) was highlighted which was aimed at addressing concerns raised by millions of Indian social media users regarding content and other issues. The GAC will handle appeals from users contesting decisions made by social media platforms by providing an avenue for users to voice their grievances.
WhatsApp has also announced some changes for Android users as a part of its ongoing efforts to enhance user safety. Starting this year, users on Android will no longer be able to back up their chats on Google Drive for free. WhatsApp chat backups will now contribute to users; Google Drive storage limits, aligning with Android practices with the storage limitations already present in iPhone’s iCloud. This strategic move encourages users to consider investing in additional storage through WhatsApp with Google One.
Hence, WhatsApp’s unprecedented ban on over 71 lakh accounts reflects a proactive approach to tackle online scams and protect its vast user base in India. The company’s commitment to user safety coupled with ongoing preventive measures marks a significant step in ensuring a secure messaging environment for millions of users.