India’s 2million WhatsApp users have been blocked in only a month for violating the rules of the application, the United States-based company has disclosed in its first compliance report under India’s controversial new social media rules. These users were blocked for the abuse of spam messages. The Facebook-owned firm has put a limit on mass-forward messaging to curb misinformation.

These accounts were banned in accordance with India’s newly implemented rules in May to manage social media companies, forcing them to disclose their monthly efforts to police their social media and other information platforms.

WhatsApp said that its “top focus” remains on preventing the spread of harmful and unwanted messages. “We maintain advanced capabilities to identify these accounts sending a high or abnormal rate of messages and banned 2m accounts in India alone from May 15 to June 15 attempting this kind of abuse,” WhatsApp said in its report released late on Thursday.

Although India forms one of the top WhatsApp markets, having around 400musers, it has often found itself facing criticism over the spread of misinformation. Previously in 2018 dozens of individuals were lynched in India, following rumors spread on WhatsApp about gangs stealing children.

Such incidents prompted the messaging app to introduce a limit on forward messaging in bulks in India. WhatsApp and a few Indian media firms have sought to challenge the new social media rules in court. Critics are of the opinion that the govt is seeking to crush dissent but the govt says it is attempting to make social media safe for everyone.

Under these new principles, social media platforms need to share details of the “first originator” of posts deemed to undermine India’s sovereignty, state security, or public order. WhatsApp states that the principles violate India’s privacy laws.

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