WhatsApp released its first compliance report under the new Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code or the IT Rules 2021 earlier this week. The Indian government announced new IT Rules 2021 earlier this year and informed all major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Google, Instagram, Snapchat, more to follow them. One of the guidelines under the new social rules was to produce monthly compliance report. Going by the ne IT Rules, one of world’s most popular messaging platform WhatsApp released its first compliance report, which revealed shocking details.

One of the biggest highlights of the report was that the instant messaging platform banned over 2 million (20 lakh) WhatsApp accounts in the country between the period May 15 and June 15. The question now is, why did WhatsApp ban lakhs of accounts in just a period of one month?

Why did WhatsApp ban your number?

Well, stating the reason behind banning lakhs of accounts in the country, the Facebook owned messaging platform has said that it was due to “unauthorized use of automated or bulk messaging.” In simple words, WhatsApp has banned lakhs on accounts that sent messages in “bulk”.

Over the years, the Facebook owned messaging platform has warned users not to forward unverified information on the platform. In the last few years, WhatsApp has been a common platform where users share all sorts of information with their friends and family members, both verified and unverified. We have seen several instances in the last few years wherein a fake news circulated on the platform build tension among people, leading to loss of lives in some instances.

To mitigate the spread of unverified information on the messaging platform, WhatsApp limited the forward feature to five users at a time last year. The feature was introduced after unverified information related to coronavirus were circulating on the platform.

WhatsApp

(Image: Flickr)

While the forward limit feature must have reduced instances of fake news circulation, there are still users who are not following the guidelines provided by the platform and passing unverified information.

Over the years, WhatsApp has introduced several features to limit the spread of fake news on the platform. Some of the features include: limit of forwards, forwarded many times tag, and more. The messaging app has partnered with government agencies to launch official chatbots.

So, if WhatsApp has banned your account/phone number, it could be because you intentionally/ unintentionally engage in spreading unverified information among your contacts.

Tips to identify fakes news on WhatsApp

-Always verify a forwarded message with official source – be it website, social Twitter/Facebook account or WhatsApp chatbots.

-Never reshare messages that come to you with “frequently forwarded” tag. In most instances they are unverified.

-Messages that look different with grammar/spelling issues are mostly fake. An official message from authorities will not look like that.

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