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Government to make legal changes and regulations to hold social media platforms accountable: Ashwini Vaishnaw

On June 18, IT and Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw assured that the government would make the necessary legal changes and regulations to make social media platforms more accountable.

The minister stressed that social media and the digital world must be made more accountable, citing the internet on mobile phones and social media platforms have brought about powerful and transformative changes, but must be accompanied by awareness of responsibility. .

“Whatever legal changes are needed, we will do that. Within the media groups, the necessary self-regulation…self-regulation will be done…but wherever it is necessary, we will take all measures to make the more responsible social media,” Vaishnaw said. speaking at the ‘TV9 What India Thinks Today Global Summit’.

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He added that whether in Parliament or outside, there is a clear consensus in the country that making social media accountable is essential.

“If you see globally too, there is a clear trend that social media needs to be held accountable. It’s the same in India. As I said, legal action will also be taken” , said the minister.

“No industry wants regulation, Vaishnaw said, but bringing regulation where it is needed, and to the extent needed, is the responsibility of government, and we will bring it,” he added.

Earlier in June 2022, the Department of Computing released the new draft rules which propose a government panel to hear user appeals against complaint inaction or against content-related decisions made by complaints officers. social media platforms.

“At present, there is no appeal mechanism provided by intermediaries or any credible self-regulatory mechanism in place,” the IT Department had said.

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Meanwhile, the government plans to finalize the new social media rules before the end of July after extensive consultations. During the consultation process, the new draft amendment is expected to meet widespread opposition from major tech platforms.

In the past, social media companies such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp have drawn regulatory attention to issues such as hate speech, harmful content and misinformation on their platforms.

Earlier in 2021, India implemented new rules on IT intermediaries last year, aimed at strengthening the accountability of big tech companies, including Twitter and Facebook.

According to the rule, social media platforms must remove any content flagged by authorities within a given timeframe and set up a robust complaints mechanism with an agent based in the country. Social media companies are also required to remove posts depicting nudity or altered photos within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.

Apart from this, social media companies – those with 50 lakh users or more – must publish a monthly compliance report disclosing details of complaints received and action taken, as well as content proactively removed.

With entries from PTI.

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