NEW DELHI: The clock is ticking for social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; they may be thrown out of India lock, stock and barrel India if they do not comply with the new Intermediary Guidelines.
The May 25 deadline set by the government has ended but so far none of the platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, have adhered to the new regulatory regime. The sole exception is the Indian version of Twitter, Koo, which the government is propping as an alternative to Twitter.
The social media giants have little choice in the matter: if they wish to operate as intermediaries and continue to enjoy certain exemptions, they must fall in line. If they play hard to get, they not only lose their status and protections, but criminal action can be taken against them as per the law of the land. The US-based companies had asked for six months’ time to consult headquarters but failed to take decisive action.
FACEBOOK PROVISO: A Facebook spokesperson was cited by India Today as saying, “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.”
In the new regime, nodal officers will investigate the complaints, monitor the content and remove it if it is objectionable. Such rules will bind not only social media platforms but also OTT platforms. So, streaming platforms like 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.
GOOGLE AMENABLE: Google on Tuesday cited its "long history" of managing content according to local laws to assure the Indian government of its continuing efforts to ensure legal compliance. "We respect India's legislative process and have a long history of responding to government requests to remove content where the content violates the local law or our product policies,’’ a Google spokesperson said. Its statement covers all its platforms, including YouTube.