Instant messaging platform WhatsApp said on Wednesday that it banned 36.77 million accounts in India in November, slightly less than the number of accounts it blocked in the previous month.
Banned WhatsApp accounts in India include 13.89 lakh accounts that were proactively blocked before users flagged them.
In December, WhatsApp banned 37.16 million accounts in the country, including 9.9 million accounts that were proactively blocked.
“Between December 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022, 3,677,000 WhatsApp accounts were banned. 1,389,000 of these accounts were proactively banned, before users reported it,” WhatsApp said in its India monthly report for December published by of the Information Technology Rules 2021.
Tougher IT rules that came into effect last year mandate large digital platforms (with more than 50 million users) to publish monthly compliance reports detailing complaints received and action taken.
Major social media companies have in the past turned against hate speech, misinformation and fake news circulating on their platforms. Some quarters have repeatedly raised concerns about digital platforms arbitrarily downloading content and “deplatforming” users.
The government last week announced three complaints appeals boards that will deal with user complaints against major social media companies from March 1.
Appeals by WhatsApp users jumped about 70 percent to 1,607 in December, including appeals against the ban of 1,459 accounts, compared to 946 complaints in November.
The instant messaging company took action on only 166 appeals.
WhatsApp said it responds to all complaints received except when the complaint is considered to be a duplicate of a previous ticket.
An account is “affected” when it is blocked or a previously banned account is reinstated as a result of a complaint, the report said.
In addition to responding to and addressing user complaints through the complaints channel, WhatsApp is deploying tools and resources to prevent malicious behavior on the platform, the report said.