In December 2022, over 36 lakh (3,677,000) WhatsApp accounts were banned in India. Out of these, 1,389,000 were proactively banned before any reports from users. The information was revealed in the India Monthly Report for December published under the Information Technology Rules 2021.
Increase in User Appeals
In December 2022, the number of WhatsApp user appeals increased by 70% to 1,607, including requests to ban 1,459 accounts, compared to 946 complaints in November. WhatsApp responded to 166 appeals and took action accordingly.
Preventing Harmful Behaviour
WhatsApp stated in its report that, apart from responding to and acting on user complaints, it also deploys tools and resources to prevent harmful behavior on the platform.
Grievance Appeal Committees
The Indian government recently announced the establishment of three grievance appeal committees to handle user complaints against large social media companies, starting from March 1, 2023.
WhatsApp claimed to respond to all grievances received, excluding duplicate tickets. An account is considered to be ‘actioned’ when it is banned or when a previously banned account is restored following a complaint.
The reason for the ban of these accounts was not specifically stated in the India Monthly Report for December published by WhatsApp. However, it was mentioned that the instant messaging platform deploys tools and resources to prevent harmful behavior on the platform. It is possible that these accounts were banned for violating the platform’s terms of service or engaging in harmful behavior.