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Why ShareChat removed 400,000 pieces of content

By Neha Alawadhi
April 21, 2019 11:21 IST
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The removal of over 54,000 accounts was the largest such removal yet.
Neha Alawadhi reports.

*IMAGE: ShareChat was built on the simple idea of creating content that can be shared on WhatsApp. Photograph: Kind Courtesy Tinh Khuong/

A day before the second phase of the general election, ShareChat, the social platform that hosts content in 14 different regional Indian languages, said it had removed over 487,000 unique pieces of content and 54,404 accounts since February for violating its community guidelines and terms of use.

'Of the above, 13,195 unique pieces of content were from our politics and news section, which were violative of our community guidelines,' the company said.

Over 6,431 pieces of content was taken down for sharing something marked as factually inaccurate by a third-party fact-checking agency,

The agency has a team of journalists, social media experts, and public policy professionals.

It operates a domain that publishes various findings.

If a user tries to access any problematic content, a disclaimer pops up.


IMAGE: ShareChat at present, is available in Hindi, Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Odia, Kannada, Assamese, Haryanvi, Rajasthani and Bhojpuri, and more languages will be added. Photograph:

"A banner will inform you why the content is problematic. There is an in-app reporting mechanism. So, one can report content and say why you are reporting the content. We are going to be tying up with one more fact-checking agency soon," says ShareChat public policy head Berges Malu.

The removal of over 54,000 accounts was the largest such removal yet, ShareChat said.

The removal targeted accounts that were indulging in the sharing of harmful or abusive content, engaging in disruptive behaviour and using the platform in a way that was violating the terms of use.

Some of these posts included factually inaccurate statements with regard to the elections, shared content with intent to cause public disorder that was meant to create frenzy amongst various political party supporters and or the general public, ShareChat said in its statement.

"The fact is that globally, platforms to enjoy the benefit of safe harbour privileges, but... we don't want to censor content or free speech. We cannot be deciding what content is good or bad, fake or true, problematic or not problematic. We take down content based on whether it violates our community guidelines," says Malu.

"We keep monitoring the platform for this We take down (content) based on what people report and also violation of community guidelines, spam behaviour, child porn, violent or derogatory content," adds Malu.

Bengaluru-based ShareChat was founded in 2015 by three IIT-Kanpur graduates, and counts smartphone maker Xiaomi, Shunwei Capital, SAIF Partners, India Quotient, and Lightspeed Venture Partners as its investors, and is valued at about $500 million.

It was built on the simple idea of creating content that can be shared on WhatsApp.

In over three years since its inception, ShareChat has over 45 million users, sees one million pieces of content getting shared per day, and generates over one billion WhatsApp impressions per month.

The average user spends 40 minutes on the app, while consuming 500 to 600 MB of data, says Malu.

ShareChat was one of the companies that signed a Voluntary Code of Ethics to support the Election Commission of India to ensure a free and fair election process.

As part of this, it conducted a training session for ECI appointed nodal officers in New Delhi.

The training included methods through the ECI could report potentially unlawful content for expeditious redressal.

"Though ShareChat does not yet monetise advertisements, it has over 400 verified political accounts," says Malu.

Problematic content flagging and takedown on the platform is done through a mix of proprietary algorithms and manual effort.

ShareChat has over 100 employees spread across Bengaluru and Delhi.

The maximum amount of content is generated in southern India -- Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala.

Malu attributes the high content generation to better education, higher Internet literacy and a robust entertainment industry.

Punjab and West Bengal are other important states that generate content.


*Image only posted for representational purposes.


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Neha Alawadhi
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