WhatsApp to check abuse, but won’t break end-to-end encryption

By: | Updated: February 7, 2019 7:18 AM

The company though has put-in a spam detection technology that works round the clock to spot accounts engaging in abnormal behaviour.

WhatsApp, WhatsApp end-to-end encryption, Facebook, messages shares on WhatsApp, fake news, lynchingsThe company though has put-in a spam detection technology that works round the clock to spot accounts engaging in abnormal behaviour.

WhatsApp, which has been at loggerheads with the Indian government regarding traceability of messages, maintains that it has no plans to end the private nature of the app or remove end-to-end encryption. The Facebook-owned platform reiterated that it did not store any data of users and all the messages are end-to-end encrypted, meaning only the sender and receiver can read them. The government has been asking WhatsApp to share origin of messages in order to track fake news. There had been a spate of lynchings due to viral spread of fake messages on WhatsApp.

The company though has put-in a spam detection technology that works round the clock to spot accounts engaging in abnormal behaviour. In fact, over the last three months, WhatsApp has banned over 2 million accounts per month globally for bulk and automated behavior. Asked about how many of these accounts were from India, WhatsApp head of communications Carl Woog declined to share the country-specific details. He though said that over 75% of the accounts were banned without a recent user report and roughly 20% accounts were banned at registration.

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Asked about the methodology to ban accounts after a user reports, Woog said the company takes a call after reading the last five messages sent by the account to the user, who has reported it. Asked how WhatsApp read the last five messages, Woog said the user who has reported the account, shares the messages with it. He reiterated that WhatsApp never breaks the encryption.

Hinting towards misuse of WhatsApp by political parties, Woog said that it had come to their notice that many accounts were opened prior to the assembly elections recently.Without naming any political party or nature of abuse, Woog said it was conveyed that any misuse or abuse will result in blocking of the account.

It must be mentioned that political parties are using WhatsApp to communicate with their cadres and workers. Most of the parties have formed groups on the platform for their internal communications. Many times, such groups are involved in spreading fake news in order to sway voters. To check the abuse of platform during elections, WhatsApp has taken a slew of initiatives like introduction of forward label and limiting forward messages to five chats at once.

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