Briefing

WhatsApp is shutting down Kashmir residents’ accounts

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Users say their contacts in the Indian state left the app’s group chats en masse Wednesday. Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, said accounts expire automatically when they’ve been inactive for 120 days. (BuzzFeed News)

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Talking point: In August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s central government stripped Kashmir of its constitutional political autonomy, sent thousands of additional soldiers to the already heavily-militarized region and imposed a communications blackout. Last month, it restored internet access to businesses that agreed to give security services backdoor access and promised not to use social media platforms or send encrypted files. Ordinary Kashmiris still can’t get online. India is WhatsApp’s biggest market, and it’s widely used by members of the diaspora to keep in touch with family and friends in the country. Affected Kashmiris could lose more than their messaging profiles—over 95 per cent of Indian mobile connections are prepaid, and carriers typically reassign numbers if they’re not used for extended periods.