The spread of fake news and hate speech, the use of robots and the mass shooting of messages made WhatsApp block at least 1.5 million accounts in Brazil. The number refers to accounts suspended or banned permanently from the app between October 2018 and September this year.
The information is Twitter, which arrived at the data from recent WhatsApp announcements. According to the website, at least 125,000 accounts in Brazil are blocked every month for violating WhatsApp rules. Penalties became even more common in the period of the last presidential elections.
On average, the application cancels 2 million accounts per month worldwide, totaling 22 million in the analyzed period. And, although expressive, the number is equivalent to less than 2% of its global base, which exceeds 1.5 billion users. Of the total, more than 130 million are in Brazil.
Because of its end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp cannot access conversations to assess whether a user is spreading fake news or promoting hate speech. The service says it uses machine learning instead.
With it, the platform can adopt mechanisms that identify users with suspicious activity. Examples include those who try to send too many messages in a short time and those who create dozens of groups to add hundreds of participants.
According to WhatsApp, the analysis takes place in three moments: in the account registration, in the exchange of messages and in complaints and blockages made by other people. The platform claims that three quarters of accounts are proactively banned, without the help of user complaints.
The survey of Twitter it helps to get an idea of the extent that fake news and mass shooting of messages have had in recent months in Brazil. The matter even became the subject of investigation in Congress, which established the Fake News CPMI earlier this month.