Social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram may face ban in India if they fail to comply with the new intermediary guidelines for social media platforms. The three-month deadline given by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITy) to accept these guidelines ends today i.e. May 25 but none of the giants have so far accepted the new regulations. The rules will be effective from tomorrow despite these companies seeking a total six-month delay in their implementation.
As per data cited by the government, India has 53 crore WhatsApp users, 44.8 crore YouTube users, 41 crore Facebook subscribers, 21 crore Instagram clients, while 1.75 crore account holders are on microblogging platform Twitter. Koo has close to 60 lakh users, making it a major social media intermediary under the new guidelines.
- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may face a ban in India if they do not comply with the new Intermediary Guidelines.
- The deadline to accept the guidelines set by the government will end on May 25
- In February 2021, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITy) had given a three-month time to the social platforms to comply with the new IT rules.
It is a crucial moment for the social media companies because if they do not comply with the new rules by May 25, they will lose their status and protections as intermediaries and criminal action can be taken against them as per the laws of India, a government official said in a statement. The US-based companies had asked for six months time as they are waiting for a response from the US headquarters.
Revealing whether Facebook will comply with the rules or not, a company spokesperson said in a 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. 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.”
As per the new rules announced by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the social media platforms will have to appoint compliance officers from India. The officer will overlook the complaints, monitor the content and remove it if it is objectionable. Such rules are not only applicable to social media platforms but also to OTT platforms.
What changes after accepting the IT rules?
Significant social media companies will also have to publish a monthly compliance report disclosing details of complaints received and action taken, as also details of contents removed proactively. They will also be required to have a physical contact address in India published on its website or mobile app, or both.
As per data cited by the government, India has 53 crore WhatsApp users, 44.8 crore YouTube users, 41 crore Facebook subscribers, 21 crore Instagram clients, while 1.75 crore account holders are on microblogging platform Twitter.
Social media companies will have to take down posts depicting nudity or morphed photos within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.