Social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may face a ban in India if they do not comply with the new Intermediary Guidelines. The deadline to accept the guidelines set by the government will end on May 25 but so far none of the platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter has complied with the new regulations yet. The Indian version of Twitter, Koo, is the only social media app that has complied with the new guidelines ahead of the May 25 deadline. In February 2021, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITy) had given a three-month time to the social platforms to comply with the new IT rules.
It is a crucial moment for the social media companies because if they do not comply with the new rules by May 25, they will lose their status and protections as intermediaries and criminal action can be taken against them as per the laws of India, a government official said in a statement. The US-based companies had asked for six months time as they are waiting for a response from the US headquarters.
Revealing whether Facebook will comply with the rules or not, a company spokesperson said in a 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 announced by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the social media platforms will have to appoint compliance officers from India. The officer will overlook the complaints, monitor the content and remove it if it is objectionable. Such rules are not only applicable to social media platforms but also to OTT platforms.
The streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime and others will have to appoint a grievance redressal officer based in India who will take care of the complaints and act on them in 15 days. The government has been of the view that social media platforms do not have a code of self-regulation. Therefore, it wants the companies to include representatives from the various ministries and form a committee to regulate the content.
The new rules also mention that the committee will have the sole power to take actions on complaints of the violation of codes.