Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and YouTube are suspected of being prosecuted in India as the rules of the latest Intermediary Rules have not been fulfilled. The new government rules were adopted in February, but on Wednesday, May 26, there are special provisions for “important social media intermediaries” with over 50 lakh registered accounts. The provisions require the main social media outlets to name a minimum of three dispute redressing officers to comply with a strict code of ethics criticized violations of free expression standards.
Individuals involved with the matter have alerted NDTV and other Media agencies that the latest intermediary rules have not yet been complied with by social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
“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,” the spokesperson said in a prepared statement. “According 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.”
On February 25, 2021, digital channel constraints were jointly imposed by MeitY, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The regulations carried a three-month timeframe for major social media intermediaries to comply with special provisions, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Twitter, WhatsApp, and YouTube. On Tuesday, this window closes. The social media platform must have a physical email address in India and must show the contact information on their websites and applications of appointees and the provision for three officers.
The guidelines for major social media networks often bind them to identify the first recipient of messages posted on their site. Civil society and entities, including the Internet Freedom Foundation, criticized this section because it could potentially affect freedom of speech and privacy and weaken end-to-end encryption. The government declared that the platforms “must not reveal to the first originator the content of any message or any other data.” However, using the rules on information technology decryption may request the message distributed by the originator and access the material.
The current provisions also mandate social media sites to provide automated tools for removing offensive content, such as artificial intelligence (AI). However, some infrastructure lawyers claim that these systems will potentially be used for public monitoring.
Few social media outlets have called for the administration to postpone the schedule for the provisions. Industrial bodies like the Indian Industry Confederation (CII) and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation of India (FICCI) have requested an extension of the implementation window for one year. Nevertheless, in February, the government did not announce any reforms.