WhatsApp, Meta’s popular instant messaging app, suspended over 2.3 million Indian accounts in August. The company released its “User Safety Report” for the month of October in accordance with the Indian IT Rules 2021, which obliges digital platforms with over five million users to publish compliance reports every month.
This month’s report covers the period from August 1, 2022 to August 31, 2022.
In July, the messaging app had shut down 2.39 million Indian accounts and a month earlier 2.21 million accounts due to complaints reported through the company’s complaints channel. Reuters reported.
Why is WhatsApp holding user accounts? What can you do to prevent your account from being banned? We explain.
Why WhatsApp blocks accounts
WhatsApp, which received flak for spreading fake news and hate speech in India, can suspend accounts for a number of reasons.
User accounts may be terminated in the event of violations of the company’s code of conduct, illegal and/or violent activities, etc. acc Indian Express.
WhatsApp also takes action against users “for violating the laws of India or violating WhatsApp’s Terms of Service,” it said India today.
To prevent abuse on its platform, the company works on three levels.
“Abuse detection works at three stages of an account’s life: upon registration, during messaging, and in response to negative feedback received in the form of user reports and bans. A team of analysts extends these systems to assess edge cases and improve effectiveness over time,” according to the messaging platform Indian Express.
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How to prevent your account from being banned on WhatsApp?
WhatsApp lays out a set of “best practices” and those to avoid to ensure “responsible use” of the messaging platform.
Be careful before forwarding messages
WhatsApp has limited the number of times users can forward messages. It also put a label on all forwarded messages – “Forwarded multiple times”.
Users are also advised not to share unverified messages that they cannot verify are authentic.
Someone could report your account if you share fake news or posts.
Avoid bulk messaging
Users should not send bulk or automated messages.
“WhatsApp uses both machine learning technology and reports from users to detect and block accounts that are sending unwanted automated messages,” says the Meta-owned platform.
The platform also advises against creating groups in an “unauthorized or automated manner” as well as using unofficial WhatsApp applications.
Do not send unsolicited messages
You should use WhatsApp respectfully and respect the boundaries of others.
If someone asks you not to text them, you need to listen and stop.
Avoid excessive use of broadcast lists
Only the users who have added your WhatsApp number to their contact list will receive your messages via broadcast list.
Frequent use of broadcast messages can result in people flagging your messages, and if your account is then reported multiple times, WhatsApp needs to take action.
Ask for permission
Before adding people to groups, you must ask their permission. If they do not wish to be added to the group, then do so. Do not send inappropriate messages to groups that may make others uncomfortable.
Adhere to the WhatsApp Terms of Service
Follow WhatsApp’s terms of service if you want to keep using your account smoothly.
According to WhatsApp, these Terms of Service prohibit “posting untruths and engaging in illegal, threatening, intimidating, hateful, and racially or ethnically objectionable conduct.”
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What if your account gets locked accidentally?
There are also instances where accounts get banned accidentally. “Even if it’s well intentioned, you could risk having your account suspended for engaging in activities that violate the company’s Terms of Service, such as spam, fraud, or compromising the security of WhatsApp users acts,” a statement from WhatsApp was quoted as saying News18.
You know your account has been blocked by WhatsApp when you get this message when you open the app: “This account is not allowed to use WhatsApp”.
If it was accidentally banned, you can either send an email to WhatsApp or click “Request Review” in the app.
When you request verification, a 6-digit registration code will be sent to you via SMS. You must enter this code and submit your request for review with details that support your case.
The company will get back to you after the verification is complete.
How do I register a complaint?
If you believe that an account violates the WhatsApp Terms of Service, you may complain about your complaints by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also send an email to your nearest complaints officer by post.
Another option is to use the “Block and Report” feature on the platform. In this case, WhatsApp will ask you to share the last five messages of the chat.
With contributions from agencies
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