Of the total accounts banned in December, WhatsApp said 1.38 million accounts were proactively banned, meaning it was done before any reports from users.
WhatsApp published these numbers as part of new guidelines under the IT Rules 2021 that mandate digital and social media platforms with more than 5 million users to publish monthly compliance reports.
“WhatsApp banned over 3.6 million accounts in the month of December,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “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 company said the abuse detection operates at three stages of an account’s lifestyle – at registration, during messaging, and in response to negative feedback in the form of user reports and blocks.
WhatsApp said a team of analysts augments these systems to evaluate edge cases and help improve effectiveness over time.
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WhatsApp said it received 1,607 grievance reports from India in December, and the platform took action on 166 of the reports. This was significantly higher than the number of grievance reports the platform received in November when 946 reports were filed.Out of these grievance reports received in December, 1,459 were for a ban appeal, and the rest were under other categories like support and safety, the company said.
An account is ‘actioned’ when an account is banned or a previously banned account is restored because of a complaint.
“In addition to responding to and actioning on user complaints through the grievance channel, WhatsApp also deploys tools and resources to prevent harmful behavior on the platform. We are particularly focused on prevention because we believe it is much better to stop harmful activity from happening in the first place than to detect it after harm has occurred,” the company said in a statement.