Top social media platforms are at risk, may lose ‘intermediaries’ tag in two days.

Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter are in danger of losing their status and protection as “intermediaries” and if they do not follow the IT rules, they could be liable for criminal proceedings, Official sources told ET that they were notified in February and are effective from Wednesday. Leading social media brokers were given three months to comply with key rules — a deadline expires on May 26 — but sources said that to date no high platform has been implemented.

If they lose their immunity as an arbitrator, they will be equally liable for any illegal material (say obscene pictures or imitations) as the person posting such material under the Indian Penal Code.The most important requirement under the new rules was to appoint a Resident Complaints Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Nodal Liaison Officer and post their details on their website along with the physical contact address. Under these rules, users were required to voluntarily provide authentication by establishing their identities, as well as to track the originator of messages.

The platform should also provide monthly reports on how many complaints have been lodged and disposed. Sources said that more time is needed in the platforms– up to six months — to provide compliance but the government is not willing to give any extension.

In self-defense, the platforms have said they are awaiting guidance from their company’s headquarters in the United States.

The official said: “They do business in India, earn good income but will have to wait for US guidance to resolve the grievance, that some platforms like Twitter have their own fact checkers whose names are not made public and there is no transparency in how they are selected and what their position is.

With the exception of one Indian social media company Koo, none of the major social media intermediaries appointed officers. The official said: that the important thing is why it should take more than three months to appoint three persons namely Resident Complaints Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Nodal Liaison Officer. Victims of social media have suffered in practice because they do not know who to turn to on social media in the absence of public information.

Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp did not respond to ET requests for immediate comments.

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