Modi government tightens grip on social media content – the New Indian Express
Express news service
NEW DELHI: The Center on Thursday announced sweeping regulations for social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, online or anticipatory (OTT) streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram to protect users’ interest in and curb fake news and other harmful content.
The rules hold social media companies accountable for the content of their platforms. They will need to deploy automated tools to remove objectionable data. In the case of a government or court order, they must remove the reported item within 36 hours.
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Regulations require messaging platforms to activate the “traceability” function so that senders of malicious messages can be identified. But it could compromise end-to-end encryption. If a social media platform decides on its own to remove a user’s content, it must notify the customer in advance and state the reasons.
Notably, publishers of digital news media will now be required to follow the Journalistic Conduct Standards of the Press Council of India and adhere to the Program Code under the Cable TV Network Regulation Act. This, according to the government, will provide a level playing field for all media platforms.
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The new laws, known as the 2021 Information Technology Rules (Intermediate Directives and Code of Ethics for Digital Media), came into force on Thursday.
However, social media platforms will be given an additional three-month window to come under the new regime.
According to the government, these rules will establish a “soft self-regulatory architecture and code of ethics and a three-tier grievance mechanism” for news publishers, OTT platforms and digital media.
The grievance mechanism states that publishers must address complaints within 15 days.
The self-regulatory body will be headed by a retired judge or a prominent figure and will have no more than six members. However, cyber experts are not impressed.
“The new rules can be interpreted to target websites / platforms. This can hinder the right to freedom of expression and expression, ”said cyber lawyer Ankur Raheja.
Social media platforms must remove content depicting nudity, sexual acts or transformed images of women within 24 hours of receiving complaints
A grievance officer should be appointed to handle complaints
If a social media platform itself deletes content, it must explain the reason to the user, who will have the opportunity to challenge it.
Social media intermediaries publish monthly compliance report on complaints received, actions taken and content proactively removed
Code of Ethics for OTT Platforms, Online News and Digital Media Entities
OTT platforms to self-classify content into five age-based categories – U (Universal), U / A 7+, U / A 13+, U / A 16+ and A (Adult)
OTT platforms must deploy age verification mechanisms for A-rated content and implement parental locks for U / A 13+ or above