Ever since the WhatsApp-policy debacle and controversies concerning the ongoing farmer’s protest in the country, the Indian Government has taken significant steps to moderate social media companies. The authorities have released the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.
In this new code, the government established a few fundamental guidelines for social media companies. So, tech behemoths such as WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook must comply with these new rules to operate in the country.
The Information Technology Rules 2021
So, according to the new IT Rules 2021, if the government asks or legally orders a social media platform to remove any shared content, the respective company will have to remove it from its platform within 36 hours. Furthermore, it will be compulsory for the social media giants to share the source of the malicious content with the government, if asked. It means the troll who starts a trend might soon be under the limelight.
Social media platforms must also remove any content portraying a partially or fully nude individual in non-consensual sexual conduct. And it should be done within 24 hours of receiving a complaint. This includes porn and nude content involving deepfake content.
Moreover, as per the new guidelines, social media intermediaries must appoint a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO). This must be done within 3 months after the new rules come into effect. The CCO will be responsible for taking user-complaints. The officer will also have to resolve the complaints from users within one month’s time by following the new rules.
Other than the CCO, the government will also form an oversight committee to regulate the guidelines. This committee will include representatives from the External Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Home, I & B, IT, Law, and women and child development. Apart from regulating the new guidelines, this committee will possess the power of summoning heads of the social media companies if they fail to follow the rules.
The social media companies will also need to inform the government about the number of resolved and unresolved user-complaints. In addition, they will need to inform users if they decide to block one’s account. Moreover, the companies will require to provide an appeal system. This will be for the users to counter their decision and reverse the action.
So, these are the key points the social media companies need to comply with. Other than these, there are a bunch of new guidelines for digital news publishers and OTT platforms such as Netflix and Prime Video. You can check out the official government document containing the new rules right here.