Social media giants Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have been put on notice by the Centre with a warning about their negligence to comply with a set of guidelines that will come into effect on May 26, reports NDTV quoting government sources.
On February 25, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology had issued a three-month deadline to all social media platforms to collaborate with the new IT Rules 2021. Sources said if the companies fail to obey the rules, their intermediary stature could be ended and may be subject to criminal action.
The rules include the appointment of compliance officials, their name and contact address in India, complaint resolution, monitoring of objectionable content, compliance report, and removal of offensive content.
New laws include the oversight mechanism will add a committee with representatives from ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home, I&B, Law, IT, and Women and Child Development. To summon hearings on complaints of the Code of Ethics violation, it will also have “suo motu powers.”
The government will also designate an officer of the rank of a Joint Secretary or above as the “Authorised Officer” who can direct content blocking. If an appealing body suspects that the content violates the law, it is permitted to send the content for blocking orders to be issued to a government-controlled committee.
Sources say till now, no company except for one has appointed any such officials. Several platforms have requested a six-month notice deadline, saying that they were still waiting for directions from their headquarters in the US.
Sources added these companies are working in India, making profits from India but wait for a green signal from the headquarters to follow guidelines. Platforms like Twitter keep their own fact-checkers that neither identifies nor reveal how the facts are being investigated.
Meanwhile, folks on social media do not know who to complain to and where their problem will be resolved, they said.