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No, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram will not stop working in India (Not right now)

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Will India ban Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and all other social media platforms in the country? Well, no. We explain the entire scenario in 10 simple points. Read on.

Will big social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, among a few others get banned in India? Well, that is what several reports claimed in the last 24 hours, but unfortunately, these are all claims with no valid reason. Absolutely baseless. So, we suggest, you take any report that suggests that these big social media platforms will be banned/blocked in India with a pinch of salt as nothing of that sort will happen, at least any time soon. Today is May 26, and Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and all other "significant social media" platforms are still working just fine in the country. Also Read - Facebook to now allow more cryptocurrency ads than before; here's why

So, why were hashtags like Twitter ban, WhatsApp ban, Facebook ban, Instagram ban and other related ones trending in India on Tuesday, May 25? Well, that's because the new IT rules and guidelines come into effect starting today, May 26. This means, all social media platforms will need to comply with the new IT rules and regulations. Also Read - WhatsApp users on iPhone will soon able to Undo Status, suggests report

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and more to be banned? No.

To shut all rumours circulating on the internet, let's explain in 10 quick points - what do the new IT rules state and why "significant social media" platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, among others are said to be banned in India. Read on.. Also Read - Google Pay vs Amazon Pay: Check which one offers better rewards, discounts to its users

1) Let's go back to the start. On February 25, the government of India announced a fresh set of IT rules to be followed by all social media platforms operating in the country. The government had announced that social media platforms will need to comply with the new IT rules by May 25. The new IT rules and guidelines have come into effect starting today, May 26.

2) As per the IT rules, big tech companies, the government calls them "significant social media", should have a chief compliance officer in India who can quickly respond to government demands and needs as and when required.

3) Under the new IT rules, the government has asked these social media platforms to hire a nodal officer, who will coordinate with law enforcement agencies round the clock, whenever the government requires.

4) The social media companies have also been asked to hire a grievance redressal officer. The officer, the government said, will help social media users with their grievances.

5) Under the new IT rules, the government has asked social media companies such as WhatsApp to ensure that they can trace a message to the original sender. In other words, this simply means breaking the end-to-end encryption on messages, which is extremely challenging for messaging tools like WhatsApp. Over the past few months, WhatsApp has been under tremendous pressure due to it's new privacy policy, which came into effect on May 15.

6) There are some OTT platforms such as Netflix, among others that have complied with the Indian government's new set of IT rules. There are big tech companies like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more that have still not complied with the IT rules. However, Facebook on Tuesday said in an official statement, "we aim to comply with the provisions of the IT rules and continue to discuss a few of the issues which need more engagement with the government."

7) So, companies that have complied with the new IT rules will function with no interference by the government. But, that may not be the case for the ones that don't comply with the new rules. Does it mean, social media platforms that don't follow the new IT guidelines will be banned in the country? Well, no, nothing of that sort will happen, at least not right now.

8) To know whether there are chances of Twitter and social big social media platforms to be blocked in India or not, we will need to first understand the sub-section (1) of Section 79 of the IT Act. To make it simple for you, the clauses in the IT Act basically provides protection to social media companies and streaming services by making them "intermediaries". In other words, intermediaries are in no way responsible for user content. So, social media platforms that don't comply with the new IT rules will lose the protection that intermediaries get under the IT Act.

9) So, what happens when a social media platform or a streaming service lose the intermediaries protection? Well, in such a scenario, these social media platforms can be dragged into a court at any given point and prosecuted using the applicable laws.

10) While not complying to the new IT rules can allow the government to take serious action against the big social media platform, however, it doesn't really mean much to the end users. So, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp or any other platform that have still not complied with the new IT rules and guidelines will continue to work in the country, in fact, it is still working now that the new IT rules have come into effect. However, it should be noted that these platforms will continue to work until the government of India doesn't go against them. Well, that also looks unlikely given how important a role these platforms play in our lives these days, especially Twitter that updates users with all sorts of information about the ongoing COVID-19 situation in India and other things.

So, relax there, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and all other big social media platforms will not stop working in India. At least, there are no official words on the same from the companies or the Indian government right now.

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Published:Wed, May 26, 2021 8:35am | Updated:Wed, May 26, 2021 9:13am

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