Reports say that WhatsApp is banning groups having a suspicious name

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In these weeks we are receiving a lot of reports from users that have been banned from WhatsApp. After investigating, it seems that they have a common reason: WhatsApp has banned those users from using WhatsApp because they were in a group that had, as group subject, a malicious name.

The first report was found on Reddit, where the user Mowe11 published a post about his WhatsApp ban.
He explained that a guy that was a participant of his group changed his university’s name group to something illegal, determining the ban for the entire group. He has also confirmed that all members got banned and that it was the 3rd time that a user did that.
Another user from Reddit, FranciscoAlfaro, was in a group of his school, having about 100 participants. When he woke up, all members were mysteriously banned with no apparent reason.
Another report from PiTiXX, that says that he was banned from using WhatsApp because his friend changed the group subject using the same malicious name, and all accounts were suspended.
Another report is from Twitter, where my follower Laurato said that it was banned for the same reason:

When these users tried to reach WhatsApp, they have received an automatic reply, that explained that they were banned from violating their Terms Of Services, and that they won’t reply again. So, in this case, someone that was wrongly banned can do nothing and cannot receive the assistance from WhatsApp. People are forced to change their phone number, losing their chat history.

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I don’t know precisely why it happens (because it’s server-side, so we users cannot know how WhatsApp detects a user that must be banned, that surely includes an automatic process) but it seems that it affects old groups or groups having a lot of participants, with a malicious group subject.
Probably this is the only way that WhatsApp can use to detect malicious groups, seen that chats and calls are end-to-end encrypted and they cannot see the content of the group, so they see its metadata (group date creation, group subject, group description etc..), but is this an efficient solution? A user might change the group subject of his university group just for fun or because he wants that everyone get banned. In our opinion the group subject doesn’t always reflect the content of the group.
What we can recommend to you, if you are a group admin, is to use the new Group Info Restriction feature, so only the admin will be able to change the group info.

If this happened to you and you would like to share your experience with us, you can contact us using Twitter.


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