WhatsApp blocks 2 million Indian users over messaging violations

WhatsApp blocks 2 million Indian users over messaging violations

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New Delhi: WhatsApp blocked more than 2 million users in India for violating its rules in just one month. The American company disclosed in its first compliance report under India’s controversial new social media rules.

Most users are blocked for abusing spam. This Facebook-owned company limits a large number of forwarding messages in response to misinformation.

India implemented new rules in May to regulate social media companies, forcing them to disclose their efforts to regulate platforms every month.

“We maintain advanced capabilities to identify these accounts sending a high or abnormal rate of messages and banned two million accounts in India alone from May 15 to June 15 attempting this kind of abuse,” WhatsApp said in its report released late Thursday.

The company said its “top focus” remains on preventing the spread of harmful and unwanted messages.

WhatsApp has more than 400 million users in India, one of its top markets, but has often found itself facing criticism over the spread of misinformation.

In 2018, dozens of people were lynched in India after rumors circulated on WhatsApp about the theft of children by gangs.

These events prompted messaging applications to introduce restrictions on bulk forwarding of messages in India.

WhatsApp and some Indian media companies tried to challenge the new social media rules in court. Critics say the government is seeking to suppress dissent, but the government says it is working to make social media safer.

According to regulations, social media platforms must share details of the “first initiator” of posts deemed to undermine India’s sovereignty, national security, or public order.

WhatsApp stated that these rules violate India’s privacy laws.

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