WhatsApp bans 26 lakh bad accounts in India as amended IT rules take shape

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Meta-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday said it banned over 26 lakh accounts in India in the month of September in compliance with the new IT Rules, 2021, which are now being amended to put more responsibili- ties on social media platforms.

The messaging platform, which has nearly 500 million users (according to third-party data) in the country, received 666 complaint reports in September in India, and the records “actioned” were 23.

“In accordance with the IT Rules 2021, we’ve published our report for the month of September 2022. This user-safety report contains details of the user complaints received and the corresponding action taken by WhatsApp, as well as WhatsApp’s own preventive actions to combat abuse on our platform,” a company spokesper- son said in a statement.

The platform banned over 23 lakh bad accounts in India in August. Under the upgraded IT Rules 2021, major digital and social media platforms, with in excess of five million users, have to publish monthly compliance reports.

Meanwhile, in a major push towards an open, safe, trusted and accountable Internet, the Ministry of Electronics and IT has notified some amendments aimed at protecting the rights of “Digital Nagriks”.

Currently, social media intermediaries are only required to inform users about not uploading certain categories of harm- ful/unlawful content. The amendments impose a legal obli- gation on intermediaries to take reason- able efforts to prevent users from upload- ing such content. Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that protection of constitutional rights of the Indian citizens is a must.

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