The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Wednesday asked the social media firms, including Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp, to share details of the compliance of the new IT guidelines as soon as possible.
Issuing a notice to all “Significant Social Media Intermediaries”, the government asked the companies to provide the scope of its services, details of Chief Compliance Officer, Nodal Contact Person, Resident Grievance Officer and physical contact address in India.
In its note, the IT Ministry asked the platforms to give information on the status of compliance and stressed – “Please confirm and share your response ASAP and preferably today itself.”
Additional due diligence required from large social media companies has come into effect from today, the IT Ministry added.
WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter were given three months to comply with the new digital rules that require them to appoint a compliance officer in India, set up a grievance response mechanism and take down content within 36 hours of a legal order.
The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, says “significant social media intermediaries” or sites that host third party information, messages and posts stand to lose protection from lawsuits and prosecution if they fail to comply with the rules.
This means that big tech firms can no longer be just intermediaries, which gave them legal immunity from objectionable content posted by users. They will be treated as any other publishing platform and can face action.
Facebook and Google have said they are working towards complying with the guidelines though they have sought talks with the authorities. However, Twitter is yet to comment on the matter.
Earlier today, WhatsApp launched legal action to stop India from enforcing new social media rules effective Wednesday that the tech company says will break its privacy guarantees.
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