MeitY India could block some social media by today for Noncompliance with the new guidelines

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, MeitY had announced a new set of rules for OTT and social media platforms in order to control what was being shared on these digital platforms. The announcement was made public on February 25, 2021 with a three-month deadline that ends today.

IndiaTimes published that some social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram could face a ban starting today if they fail to comply with the new Intermediary Guidelines that were issued by Indian Government in the month of February 2021.

What are the new guidelines?

One of these new guidelines included appointing compliance officers, a resident grievance officer, a chief compliance officer and a nodal contact person who would overlook the complaints regarding the content on these platforms, monitor and even remove the content, should it deem objectionable.

The rules also make it compulsory for platforms to be able to trace the originator of messages, along with a provision for voluntary verification as a means to establish user identity.

The social media platforms that fall under the purview of these new guidelines are those with fixed 5 million users registered users, giving them social media intermediary status.

The guidelines also call for the setup of an oversight mechanism that would include a committee with representatives from ministries of defence, External Affairs, Home, Information and Broadcasting, Law, IT and Women & Child Development.

Which social media platforms have complied with the guidelines?

Of all the social media platforms that exist in India, only one has complied with these new guidelines — the homegrown Twitter copycat, Koo.

Facebook has issued an official statement surrounding the compliance of the new guidelines claiming that they aim to comply with the new rules however, they need to iron out a few details for which they need more engagement with the government.

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to ET, “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.”

The statement added, “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.” A report by NDTV highlighted that as per its sources, some companies has sought a six-month deadline as they were awaiting instructions from their HQ in the US.

What would happen if they don’t comply by today?

Noncompliance with the new guidelines would strip these platforms from their intermediary status and subject them to legal proceedings, even subjecting them to criminal action as per the laws of the nation. The report also highlights that they could also face being blocked, making them no longer functional in India, much like TikTok and PUBG Mobile.

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