Senior officials of the instant messaging service WhatsApp have warned Indian political parties that are not using the platform in the manner that was intended and it will ban accounts in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections if needed.
Carl Woog, head of communications at WhatsApp while addressing media in Delhi said: “We have seen a number of (political) parties attempt to use WhatsApp in ways that was not intended and our firm message to them is using it in that way will result in bans.”
“Over the last several months we have engaged with political parties to explain our firm view that WhatsApp is not a broadcast platform; it is not a place to send messages at scale; and to explain to them that we will be banning accounts that engage in automated bot behaviour and we do this regardless of the purpose of this account. We are trying to maintain the private nature of our platform,” added Woog.
India is WhatsApp’s largest user market with over 230 million monthly active users. WhatsApp also released a white paper titled “Stopping abuse: How WhatsApp fights bulk messaging and automated behaviour” on Wednesday and said its top priority is to fight automated behaviour on the service.
The company has globally, removed more than 2 million accounts a month for the past three, on account of bulk or automated behaviour. It has a global user base of 1.5 billion. The company said it had briefed the Election Commission of India and state election commissions about its preparations for the election.