The IT Ministry has come with ‘Intermediaries Rules’ for all social media channels. The rules were notified in February and the social media giants were given a 3-month time frame to implement them. Till now, 7 of these networks, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Sharechat, LinkedIn, Koo, Telegram, and Google have complied with the rules while Twitter has not accepted them yet saying that the new rules are a potential threat’ to freedom of expression. Let’s see what the IT Ministry’s new digital rules are.
New IT rules for social media
The newly set IT Ministry digital rules are designed to prevent abuse and misuse of platforms and offer users a robust forum for grievance redressal. As per the new social media rules, media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter will have to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person, and a resident grievance officer. The Ministry has also demanded the networks to immediately provide details and contact information of the chief compliance officer and resident grievance officer.
The new rules virtually bring these platforms under government supervision.According to the new rules, social media channels must take down any content that has been flagged by the authorities within 36 hours. It also requires them to set up a robust mechanism to respond to complaints. They will also have to give details about the origin of a tweet or a message on being asked by either a court or a government authority.
The failure to comply with IT Ministry new digital rules will result in all social media channels operating in India losing the intermediary status that cushions them and ensures exemptions and certain immunity from liabilities for any third-party information and data hosted by them. In simple words, if not accepted, these channels can be held responsible for criminal action in case of complaints.
The new IT rules also demand significant social media intermediaries – offering services primarily like messaging – to allow identification of the “first originator” of information that dents the sovereignty of India, security of the state, or public order.
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