A pull appears to have been on the way just one day before the May 26 deadline for social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to implement steps mandated by the Centre in current guidelines. As per the government sources cited by NDTV and The Indian Express, neither the company has named a chief nodal officer honor established adequate dispute resolution mechanisms, which are both expected under the new directives.
The government’s rules will only take effect on the 26th of May.
If social media firms do not follow the guidelines, they risk losing their status and rights as intermediaries, as well as facing criminal charges under Indian law, according to top authoritative sources.
The government has set a criterion of 50 lakh registered users for identifying an “important social media intermediary,” that will be subject to additional responsibilities and enforcement under new IT rules aimed at combating social media platform misuse. When it first announced the guidelines in February, it stated that the new regulations would occur immediately, but that major social media providers (relying on users) would have three months to adhere.
The guidelines also include recruitment of compliance officers, the disclosure of their names and contact information in India, complaint resolution, surveillance of objectionable material, compliance reporting, and the elimination of objectionable material, among other things. Until now, no organization has officially named any such officials, except for one.
Players will be required to publish a compliance report every month without fail and will have to delete specifics of the contents in advance. As per the Government’s information, India has 53M WhatsApp users, 44.8M YouTube subscribers, 41M on Facebook, 21M Instagram users, and 1.75M people who use Twitter. The current rules were put in place to make social media sites like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, as well as Instagram, which have seen massive growth in India in recent years, more committed to being responsible for the data they host.
When requested by the government or the court, social media sites must remove posts depicting pornography or morphed images within twenty-four hours of receiving a complaint, and they must reveal the first source of the malicious content that threatens India’s sovereignty, state security, or public order.
Except for one Indian social media firm, Koo (which has a potential audience of over 50 lakh), neither of the major social media intermediaries have named the Resident Grievance Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, or Nodal Contact Person by the new rules.
A few social media sites, as per the reports, have requested an extension of up to 6 months to provide compliance.
‘Non-Cooperative Attitude’ is a term used to describe an individual who refuses to cooperate.
In the case of certain platforms, the typical response seems to be that they will await orders from their company headquarters in the United States, and will then make a decision based on their independent evaluation. They do business in India and make a profit, but grievance redress would have to wait for guidance from the United States. A few sites, such as Twitter, have their fact-checkers whose identities aren’t made public, but there is no clarity about how they are chosen or what their status is.
Well, if anything we were sure that the general public would not take it well and they indeed have not. Below are a few comments made by the public after hearing about the ban. Keep reading.
“How can they ban both Twitter and Facebook? I am not mentally prepared to live in a house where both I and my father will be unhinged.”
“Wait a minute, if Twitter and Facebook get banned, so will Instagram and WhatsApp because they are owned by Facebook, WTH!? As if physical isolation is not enough, they want us to isolate from social media as well? Tell me this is not true.”