WhatsApp is one of the most widely used applications globally and one of its main claims, beyond its democratization, is the end-to-end encryption with which it protects conversations. However, the fact that, on paper, the platform does not know what the user writes does not mean that it does not take measures when it is aware that a user is violating its rules. It can even go so far as to eliminate groups.
In order to discover if a group is breaking the rules of the platform, WhatsApp moderators use “advanced machine learning technology based on incorrect group information recorded”.
The app can automatically remove groups when it is reported multiple times that belonging users share suspicious information, such as illegal group names and descriptions.
In such cases, the group can be automatically deleted by WhatsApp.
“When a group is deleted, its participants will no longer be able to send messages or read chat history. And also, they cannot open the group information and read the list of other participants,” they highlight from WABetaInfo.
Beyond group chats, there are other reasons why the messaging application can directly delete users’ accounts.
Using alternative apps to WhatsApp
The ‘app’ warns that it suspends the accounts of those who use alternative and unofficial applications of its service, such as WhatsApp Plus or GB WhatsApp. These platforms, which change the color logo and offer functionalities that are not available in the original tool, violate its terms of service; as they are developed by third parties and “it is not possible to validate their security practices”.
For reports and blocking
As the application states in its technical report, although WhatsApp allows the creation of groups, the tool is primarily intended for private communications between two users. The goal is that they feel comfortable using the platform and that the ecosystem within it is the best possible. To make this possible, the app offers users mechanisms to report accounts that bother them or give them problems.
This can be done, in addition to blocking, through the ‘Report contact’ option. If used, the user will be giving the application permission to review the most recent messages received from the contact that is causing problems and, in this way, the ‘app’ can determine whether to take action. The same happens when a number is blocked by several people.
The application also pursues abuse of the platform. “Do not attempt to send bulk or automated messages or use automatic dialing via WhatsApp. WhatsApp uses machine learning technology and user reporting to detect and suspend accounts that send unwanted messages. This includes repeatedly contacting users who do not wish to be contacted. Do not create accounts or groups automatically or unauthorized, or use modified versions of WhatsApp”, warn from WhatsApp in the section of unwanted practices.
The ‘app’ prohibits the sharing of people’s phone numbers without their consent. Also the use of data obtained from illicit sources, as could be the purchase of phone numbers for commercial purposes, to send messages to WhatsApp users or to add them to groups.
Also, messages sent on a broadcast list will only be received by recipients who have the phone number saved in their phone’s contact book. “However, excessive use of broadcast lists could cause users to report your messages. If we receive multiple reports from an account, we will block that account,” they remind from WhatsApp.
Violation of the conditions
WhatsApp’s terms of service prohibit, among other actions, the publication of false material and illegal, threatening, intimidating, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive behavior. Likewise, the application does not allow a user to impersonate someone he/she is not.
What do I do if I lose my account?
WhatsApp has several punishments in place for violators who do not comply with its terms of service. From the total deletion of an account, to temporary suspension, which is usually the most common measure taken by the application. Normally, the suspension usually ranges from hours to two days. Once the established time has elapsed, which will be notified to the user by means of a message, the service will be available again.