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Why government’s new IT rules for Facebook & Twitter are concerning us?

Is India becoming China? Understanding government laws for  Facebook & Twitter that are concerning us.

The deadline for the new digital guideline created by the central government is over. In fact, on May 25, the deadline for approving the new guidelines of the Internet media of the central government has come to an end. In such a situation, now a major action can be taken against the internet media platforms which do not implement the new Intermediate Guidelines of the Central Government. Meanwhile, the world’s major digital companies Google and Facebook said on Tuesday that they are taking steps to comply with the new IT rules. Companies said this a few hours before the new IT rule for social media companies including Facebook & Twitter came into effect. Let us understand why new IT policies of government are concerning us?

Facebook & Twitter

Facebook agrees Twitter asks for time and Whatsapp knocks court

According to the data by the government, India has 53 crore WhatsApp users, 44.8 crore YouTube users, 41 crore Facebook subscribers, 21 crore Instagram clients, while 1.75 crore account holders are on microblogging platform Twitter. WhatsApp has moved the Delhi High Court against the ‘traceability’ rule made for social media by the Department of Information and Technology (IT). In its complaint application, WhatsApp has said that the IT department has objected to the issue of ‘traceability’ included in the new rules. At the same time, he also opposes the provision of bringing his personnel under the purview of criminal cases for not complying with these rules. Whatsapp says that disclosing the identity of the person who posted the post on their platform for the first time is a violation of the person’s right to privacy.

In such a situation, the government should remove the ‘traceability’ clause from its new rule. Whatsapp filed his application in the Delhi High Court on Tuesday. Before the deadline of this guideline is over, Facebook, the biggest player in Internet media, has said in its statement that it respects the government’s new guideline and is working to implement it. Facebook has also said that discussions are underway with its government to implement the new guideline. On the other hand, the microblogging site Twitter has asked for six months’ time to implement the new guideline on behalf of the central government. Koo App, called Indian Twitter, has implemented the government’s guideline.

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Facebook & Twitter

Can the Government take big action?

In February this year, the central government issued new guidelines for social media platforms. The central government had given three months time to implement this guideline. But platforms other than Koo App have not implemented it. In such a situation, action can be taken against social media platforms that do not implement the new guidelines. In this, they can be banned in India. However, no information has yet been received about this. The IT Rules are the largest expansion of government control over speech in the country in the last decade. This need to control the narrative, and to restrict criticism of the government was recently highlighted in a leaked report from the Group of Ministers on government communication. Like China, the control is exercised through “self-regulatory mechanisms” or “guidelines” put in place for platforms and services, but the penalties are such that our freedoms will be impacted. will have to appoint chief compliance officers, to ensure the rules and the laws are adhered to, and a nodal officer, with whom the law enforcement agencies will be coordinating, apart from a grievance officer. This will definitely harm our democratic values.

Facebook & Twitter

What is in the central government’s new guideline?

On 25 February last, the Government introduced Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. IT experts say these new rules will fundamentally ‘change’ the Internet service in India. It is said that public opinion has not been taken in framing these rules. The IT department gave social media companies three months to comply with its new rules, which expired on May 25. The government can now take action against these companies for not complying with the rules. According to the new guidelines released by the central government, the internet media platform will have to appoint a nodal officer, a resident grievance officer in India, who will be in India. This officer will have to settle complaints received against OTT content within 15 days. Apart from this, under the new guideline, the Internet media platform will have to issue a monthly report, giving information about complaints and their disposal. Not only this, which posts and content were removed and what was the reason for this, we also have to talk about this. All social media platforms including Facebook & twitter should have a physical address in India, which should be registered on the company’s mobile app and website.

Facebook has announced on Wednesday that Instagram users will soon be able to hide like counts on their posts, a move meant to address ongoing concerns about mental health and users seeking validation through engagement with their posts. Also, We have tried to contact the Ministry of electronics and information but we are waiting for them to reply.

Have a news story, an interesting write-up or simply a suggestion? Write to us at info@oneworldnews.com

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Jagisha Arora

MA in History and has worked as a freelance writer. She writes on issues of gender, caste and democracy.
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