An internet blockade in Kashmir has resulted in the discovery of an interesting detail regarding WhatsApp and how they manage accounts.
The internet blackout in Kashmir – a disputed territory between India and Pakistan- haven’t had access to the internet and telecommunications services for 4 months after the Indian government which revoked the region’s autonomy back in August.
After this long period of inactivity, Kashmiris accounts started to disappear from WhatsApp groups with no explanation and when WhatsApp was asked to explain why this is the case they stated that this was the approach they took for inactive accounts:
To maintain security and limit data retention, WhatsApp accounts generally expire after 120 days of inactivity.
When that happens, those accounts automatically exit their WhatsApp groups. People will need to be re-added to groups upon regaining access to the Internet and joining WhatsApp again.
Fortunately, affected people are not banned and just have their accounts removed and will be able to simply join again if their access to the internet is restored and they decide to open a WhatsApp account once more.
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This is a visualization of changes in fixed internet subscribers over 18 years https://youtu.be/Ht1KWz2_heo
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