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WhatsApp can ban an account without giving notice in a bid to keep the platform safe for its users. Image Credit: Shutterstock

WhatsApp is one of the most popular social media platforms for communication, and you could get banned if you don’t follow some of its rules. In fact, some people send good morning messages to all people in their contact list. There are chances of getting a ban if you send too many ‘good morning’ greetings using WhatsApp.

The platform categorises such activity as spam and could invite a ban. Similarly, you would get a ban if you keep forwarding unverified information via the app. It uses a span detection technology to identify those accounts that show suspicious behaviour. Let’s go through more details about the various types of WhatsApp bans and how one can avoid getting banned while using the app.

Reason for WhatsApp bans

WhatsApp can ban an account without giving notice in a bid to keep the platform safe for its users.

Pointing out that it retains the right to ban accounts, WhatsApp said on its official website: "We may ban accounts if we believe the account activity is in violation of our Terms of Service. As per our Terms of Service, we may retain the right to ban you without notification."

A user can be banned for violating the company’s code of conduct or for engaging in illegal or violent behaviour.

“A user can’t publish falsehoods and engage in illegal, threatening, intimidating, hateful, and racially or ethnically offensive behaviour on its messaging platform” a WhatsApp release said.

How it bans an account?

Spam detection technology is one of the security measures WhatsApp uses to decide when to ban a user. The spam detection technology automatically takes action against the user for abnormal behaviour.

The company also published a report ‘How WhatsApp Tackles Abuse’, which details the action it takes during spamming: “WhatsApp is an industry leader in preventing abuse, among end-to-end encrypted messaging services. Over the years, we have consistently invested in Artificial Intelligence and other state-of-the-art technology, data scientists and experts, and in processes, to keep our users safe on our platform,”

Regarding abuse detection, the company said, “The abuse detection operates at three stages of an account’s lifestyle: at registration, during messaging, and in response to negative feedback, received in the form of user reports and blocks. A team of analysts augments these systems to evaluate edge cases and help improve effectiveness over time.”

One can avoid receiving a ban from the social media platform by following some simple steps. The user should also know about the two types of bans from WhatsApp.

Two types of ban

1. Temporary ban

As the name suggests the Temporary Ban is for a short period, and a user can use the account after a limited time. One can use a few tips and tricks to remove temporary bans.

2. Permanent Ban

Once you receive a Permanent Ban, your mobile number is completely barred from using the platform. It is impossible for a user to remove a permanent ban.

Temporary ban

When you receive an in-app message indicating that your account is ‘temporarily banned’, it could be because you are using an unofficial version of WhatsApp. The app can ban a user from harvesting information, known as scraping as well. The user can receive a temporary ban if he/she continues to engage in scraping or fails to switch to the official app.

WhatsApp can temporarily ban if you:
* Use an unauthorised WhatsApp version

* Sending too many messages to a broadcast list

* Sending the same message to too many people

* If many accounts block you in a certain amount of time

* Creating too many groups and sending messages to people who are not in your address book might also attract a ban

Permanent ban

A user could be permanently banned from using WhatsApp if the account has already received several temporary bans.

Main reasons for banning:
* If you are executing bulk or automated actions

* Using the phone number for suspicious actions

* Receiving several reports regarding your account from other users

* If your account has a suspicious name in groups

* Sending too many advertisements

How to prevent the WhatsApp ban?

WhatsApp deploys several ‘best practices’ and security measures to help keep users safe on the platform and to 'ensure responsible use’ of the messaging platform.

Below are the protocols shared by WhatsApp for its users to prevent the account from the ban:

Best practices

Communicate with known contacts: Only send messages to those who have contacted you first or have requested you get them on WhatsApp. It's best to give contacts your phone number so they can message you first.

Ask for permission and respect boundaries: You must seek permission from people before adding them to groups. If they do not want to be included in the group, respect their wishes. Sending inappropriate messages to groups may make others uncomfortable.

Don’t send unwelcome texts: You should use WhatsApp in a respectful manner and abide by other people’s boundaries. If someone asks you not to send them messages, then you must listen to them and stop.

Use group controls: WhatsApp has created an admin-only message setting for WhatsApp groups. If you're an admin, you can decide if all participants or only group admins can send messages within the group. Using this feature can help cut down unwanted messages in groups.

Think twice before forwarding messages: WhatsApp has created a label for all forwarded messages and limits the number of times you can forward messages as a way to encourage users to reconsider before sharing. Users should avoid forwarding messages whose authenticity they cannot verify. Someone might report your account if you provide false news or posts.

Practices to avoid

Using WhatsApp in any of the ways listed below may cause your account to be banned.

Unwanted messages: If a contact asks you to stop messaging them, you should remove the contact from your address book and refrain from contacting them again.

Automated or bulk messages: Don't bulk message, auto-message, or auto-dial using WhatsApp. WhatsApp uses both machine learning technology and reports from users to detect and ban accounts that send unwanted automated messages. Also, don't create accounts or groups in unauthorized or automated ways, or use modified versions of WhatsApp.

Using contact lists that aren’t yours: Don’t share phone numbers without the consent or use data obtained from illicit sources to message users on WhatsApp or add them to groups.

Over-using broadcast lists: Messages sent using a broadcast list will only be received when users have added your phone number to their contact list. Please keep in mind, frequent use of broadcast messages may lead people to report your messages, and we ban accounts that are reported multiple times.

Harvesting personal information: Avoid extracting information from WhatsApp at scale, using an automated or manual tool, for any unpermitted purposes. The acquisition of information from users in this way, including phone numbers, user profile pictures, and statuses from WhatsApp violates our Terms of Service.

Adhere to WhatsApp’s Terms of Service: If you wish to continue using WhatsApp without any problems, abide by its terms of service. According to WhatsApp, it is against the terms of service to “publishing falsehoods and engaging in illegal, threatening, intimidating, hateful, and racially or ethnically offensive behaviour."


Knowing that you are banned

When you are banned, you’ll see the message ‘This account is not allowed to use WhatsApp’ when you open the app.

“Be aware that we ban accounts if we believe the account activity is in violation of our Terms of Service, for example if it involves spam, scams or if it puts WhatsApp users’ safety at risk. We may not issue a warning before banning your account.” WhatsApp release said.

Accidental Ban

If you receive a ban by a mistake, you can send a mail to WhatsApp or request a review in the app itself. If you want to use the review option, you will have to enter a 6-digit OTP. You can provide details of the issue while submitting the review request.