Meta-owned WhatsApp banned over 23 lakh bad accounts in India in July in compliance with the new IT Rules, 2021, the company said on Thursday. WhatsApp additionally received 574 complaint reports in the month of July in India, and the records "actioned" were 27. The platform with over 400 million users in the country had restricted over 22 lakh accounts with bad records in June. "In accordance with the IT Rules 2021, we've published our report for the month of July 2022. As captured in the latest monthly report, WhatsApp banned over 2.3 million accounts (2,387,000) in the month of July," a company spokesperson said.
Published in accordance with Rule 4(1)(d) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, the report contained data on actions made by WhatsApp in light of complaints received from users in India. The objections were received via the grievance mechanisms and accounts were actioned through its prevention and detection methods for violating the laws of the land or its terms of service. Under the upgraded IT Rules 2021, major digital and social media platforms, with excess of five million users, have to publish monthly compliance reports.
"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 processes, in order to keep our users safe on our platform," said the company spokesperson.
Meanwhile, Twitter, which is locked in a legal battle with the Indian government over content blocking orders, banned 45,191 accounts of the Indian users in the month of July over violation of its guidelines, the microblogging platform said in its monthly compliance report on Friday. Twitter suspended 42,825 accounts for promoting child sexual exploitation, non-consensual nudity, and similar content in India, while blocking another 2,366 accounts for promoting terrorism, it said in its monthly compliance report as per the new IT Rules, 2021.
The microblogging platform received 874 grievances in the country through its local grievance mechanism between June 26-July 25, and took action on 70 complaints. In June, Twitter had banned more than 43,140 accounts of the Indian users. "While we welcome everyone to express themselves on our platform, we do not tolerate behaviour that harasses, threatens, dehumanises, or uses fear to silence the voices of others," Twitter said in the report.
Under the new IT Rules 2021, big digital and social media platforms, with more than 5 million users, have to publish monthly compliance reports. Twitter receives complaints in its Grievance Officer-India channel that relate to account verification, account access, or seeking assistance or information regarding an account or Twitter's enforcement actions. In addition, Twitter processed 124 grievances which were appealing account suspensions. "These were all resolved and the appropriate responses were sent. We overturned none of these account suspensions after reviewing the specifics of the situation," said the company.
The compliance report came as whistleblower Peiter Zatko, former head of security at Twitter, alleged that the Indian government forced the platform to "hire a government agent on its payroll" and "grant access to sensitive user data", a claim which has been dismissed by Twitter. In May, Twitter moved the Karnataka High Court against the Indian government's order to take down some content on its platform.