WhatsApp Blocks Two Million Users In Bid to Beat Spam

Published · Jul 25, 2021

WhatsApp noted that it blocked two million users for “unauthorized use of automated and bulk messaging.” Under new Indian tech regulation rules, social media companies are required to publish compliance reports and this is what WA did.

In 2018 WhatsApp began restricting forwarding functionality after viral hoaxes spread on the service led to mob violence in India. In a statement, the company said it now blocks an average of eight million users per month, globally. 

While WhatsApp is complying with certain regulations under the new rules, it hasn’t accepted them wholesale. Recently the service sued the Indian government over a particular requirement.

Contention Over Encryption

In order to combat misinformation used to incite violence, the Indian government wants social media companies to trace the “originators” of such messages. This is not unusual as governments and law enforcement make use of various background check processes. 

While the Indian government has assured such tracing requests would be limited to serious criminal investigations, WhatsApp is concerned.

Such processes would be invasive.

In order to trace the chain of transmission a particular message follows, WhatsApp would have to put an end to user privacy. Every message would need to be tracked. This would break the end-to-end encryption the service guarantees.

It’s an ethical dilemma for the company and its parent, Facebook. Moreover, it’s a potential threat to usage. A few months ago WhatsApp alternatives like Telegram saw an increase in users when WhatsApp made changes to its privacy policy. 

Internet users are becoming more aware of threats to privacy, from criminals, corporations, and governments. This has led to an increase in demand for tools such as VPNs. It’s also making users far more discerning when it comes to choosing software. 

Garan van Rensburg
Garan van Rensburg

Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.