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Google Inc against idea of self-regulatory body in India?

Various media reports suggest that California-based tech company, Google Inc, is not comfortable with the proposal of the Indian government to set up a panel to receive and check user complaints from the social media sector in the country.

In month of June 2022, government pitched an idea of creating a government panel which would hear complaints from users of social media platforms. The complaints regarding content meditation and decisions of the companies would come under review by the proposed panel.

Foreseeing possibilities of discontent from social media entities, the government also informed all stakeholders that they are willing to set up a self-regulatory body instead of a government panel.

Even though social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter are on board with the idea of a self-regulatory body, Google seems to have discomfort with the idea of having any regulatory body.

According to a report by Reuters news agency, representatives of Google Inc shared their concerns with other industry participants on the matter of having a self-regulatory body in India.

The meeting which happened behind closed doors was attended by representatives of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snap Inc and Share chat.

An executive officer from Google reportedly stated that having a regulatory body would mean that the search engine would be sometimes forced to restore content back on the platform, which would have originally isolated policies of Google Inc. Sources also said to the news agency that Google representative stated its concerns regarding such a move to establish a self-regulatory body, setting a dangerous precedent.

Officers representing Snap Inc and Indian social media company, Share Chat also voiced their concerns and apprehensions regarding the self-regulatory body to moderate complaints. They reportedly stated that the matter needed more consultation with civil society.

Google said in a statement that it was in discussions and deliberation with various stakeholders in matter such as industry and government. The American tech against also added to the statement that it was “exploring all options” for the “best possible solution.”

Facebook, Twitter, Snap Inc or Share chat haven’t made any comment or statement so far regarding ongoing deliberation on the matter.

Tech Giants vs Indian Government

There have been several instances in the past when Indian government and tech companies, that control internet and social media, had gone head-to-head regarding issues such as censorship and content moderation.

The latest has been between social networking platform Twitter and the Indian government, as twitter moved to the high court of Karnataka against take-down orders from the government. Twitter said in the lawsuit that the majority of the take-down orders from the central government were unfair.

The Indian government, on the other hand, had always been of the opinion that the majority of social media users were unsatisfied with the content moderation exercise of social media companies and that there is a need to have a regulatory body to which users can file complaints.

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