The word around the town is that the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, may face a temporary ban in India, if they do not, or fail to comply with the new Intermediary Guidelines set by the government. The deadline given to the social media to accept the new guidelines by the government was May 25. However, not a single social media platform have complied with the new regulatory rules, including WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook. The only social media who has complied with these new regulatory terms, before the May 25 deadline is the Indian version of Twitter- Koo. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITy), in the month of February, had given a time period if three months for the social media platforms to comply with the new IT rules.
A government official, in his statement said that the time period of these three months is a very critical time period for these social media giants because if they do not accept the new rules by May 25, they might lose their status in the country and criminal actions can be taken against them, as per the Indian Law. The companies which are based in the US have asked for a time period of 6 months rather than the time of 3 months that was given to them as they are awaiting for orders and responses from their company headquarters in the US.
A company representative, from Facebook, in his statement, which revealed whether the company will comply with the new regulatory or not, said in his 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 which were announced by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the social media companies which are foreign based will have to appoint compliance officers from India. These Indian officers will overlook the complaints along with monitoring the content and removing it if it crosses the line or if it is too objectionable. These rules, along with the social media platforms, are also applicable to the OTT platforms as well.
The OTT streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, too, will have to appoint an Indian grievance redressal officer, who will take up the complaints pyt forth by the viewers and act upon them within a time period of days. The Indian government has believes that the social media platforms do not have a code of self-regulation. For that reason, the government wants these companies to include representatives from the various ministries in India and form a committee to regulate the content being circulated online.
The new guidelines also say that the committee shall possess the sole power to take actions on complaints of the violation of codes.