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Twitter, Facebook fail to comply with new social media rules issued by govt, may be liable for criminal action

No other company apart from the Indian social media platform Koo has made the required appointments in three months.

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and others have failed to comply with the new legal rules issued by the government with the deadline ending on May 26, which makes them liable for criminal action.

The companies were required to abide by the rules notified in the Gazette of India on February 25 under Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021 but have failed to do so on many accounts. 

As per a top official source, “If social media companies do not obey the rules, they may lose their status and protections as intermediaries and may become liable for criminal action as per the existing laws of India.”

The government had directed the social media companies to appoint a resident grievance officer, a chief compliance officer and a nodal contact person as a part of the three-tier self-regulatory framework. However, no other company apart from the Indian social media platform Koo has made the required appointments in three months.

An official on the condition of anonymity made it clear, “It is not necessary they inform the ministry. They can even furnish the details on the website. Either way, they have to comply.” “The rules were notified on February 25 and social media intermediaries have been given three months to comply,” he added.

Facebook says it aims to comply with the rules

Facebook on Tuesday announced that it aims to comply with the new rules and that it was discussing the provisions that “need more engagement” with the government.

A Facebook spokesperson informed, “We aim to comply with the provisions of the IT [Information Technology] 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.”

There has been constant friction between Big Tech, especially Twitter, and the Government of India with arbitrary suspensions of selected accounts without a valid reason and inaction over abuses and other misinformation. 

Twitter was recently served a notice by the Delhi Police after the platform added a ‘manipulated media’ label to tweets by BJP politicians. The Police wanted to know the evidence on the basis of which the platform added the label. The Government was not pleased with Twitter’s actions as well, which was seen as an attempt to influence an investigation by relevant authorities.

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