Centre in final stages of releasing new rules for social media platforms: Report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on April 09, 2020

E-commerce apps compete with social media apps such as Whatsapp and Facebook that not only take up a lot of space but are also much more frequently used than shopping apps   -  istock

The Centre is in the final stages of notifying the intermediary guidelines pertaining to social media platforms as an amendment to the Information Technology Act (IT) 2000, ETTech reported on Thursday.

According to the report, the guidelines that being finalized and are currently awaiting approval have undergone minimal changes as compared to the original draft amendments finalised by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY).

The draft IT Intermediary Guidelines were formulated in 2018. The guidelines are set to make social media and Internet companies accountable to any government agency and providing time-bound assistance to the centre for the same as per previous reports.

Once the guidelines are in place, IT companies will be liable to remove any “unlawful content” going viral on their respective social media platforms.

The guidelines were likely to face a delay as the Law Ministry wanted them to be compatible with the Data Protection Bill -- which is at present with the Joint Parliamentary Committee-- as per previous reports.

However, a government official said that the guidelines were the only way to moderate content on social media platforms such as TikTok and WhatsApp especially given the current situation referring to the surge in misinformation across social media platforms regarding the coronavirus pandemic, ETTech reported.

Furthermore, tech companies which do not have a registered office in India yet will also have to set up a registered office here. This will ensure that the companies are held accountable for any wrongdoing according to previous reports.

Social media firms will also have to ban the anonymous posting of content, with users requiring mobile verification to identify themselves.

Published on April 09, 2020

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