Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the social media giants could likely be blocked in India if they don’t comply with the government’s new intermediary guidelines. The deadline to accept the guidelines ends on May 25 i.e, today and none of the social media platforms have complied with it yet. Notably, the new ‘legal rules’ were issued by the government in February this year. Also Read - Facebook is hiring for 10,000 posts: Know details
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter could be blocked in India on May 26: Here’s the Reason Why
The government’s new intermediary guidelines will come into effect from May 26. As per the IANS report (quoting top official sources), failure of compliance with the new rules may lead to losing status and protections as intermediaries and criminal action might be taken against them as per the existing laws of India. To recall, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITy) in February this year gave three-month time to social media platforms to agree to the new rules. However, the US-based companies requested six months’ time from the Indian government as they are waiting for a response from the US headquarters. Also Read - Hate speech drops by almost half on Facebook, claims company
As per the IANS report, only the Indian messaging platform Koo had complied with the new rules. Notably, as per the new guidelines, the leading social will have to appoint a resident grievance officer, a chief compliance officer, and a nodal contact person from India. The officers will overlook the complaints, monitor the content, and remove it if it is objectionable. The guidelines are applicable for OTT platforms as well. Also Read - Happy Dusshera 2021 messages, images, stickers, quotes: How to create, send Happy Vijayadashami greetings via WhatsApp
With arbitrary suspensions of accounts and inaction over abuses and derogatory on social media platforms, users in the country have been complaining about the social media giants, the report cited. The Delhi Police visited Twitter India’s local offices to probe the manipulated tag on BJP spokesperson which was around the alleged Congress toolkit controversy.
That aside, responding to the new rules a Facebook spokesperson (via IndiaToday) said, “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. Pursuant to the IT rules, we are working to implement operational processes and improve efficiencies. Facebook remains committed to people’s ability to freely and safely express themselves on our platform.”
Under the new legal rules, the oversight mechanism will include a committee with representatives from ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home, I&B, Law, IT, and Women and Child Development. The committee will have ‘suo moto’ powers to call hearings on complaints of the violation of the Code of Ethics if it is required.