Govt announces new guidelines to curb abuse of social media platforms

Topics Social Media | Facebook | Twitter

Union Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad addresses a press conference as Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar looks on, in New Delhi (Photo: PTI)
The social media platforms will be required to disclose the first originator of the mischievous content, said ÍT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday while announcing the new social media guidelines.

Significant social media intermediaries must have a chief compliance officer and nodal contact officer residing in India to perform the grievance redressal for users, he said.

The government on Thursday announced new rules to curb misuse of social media platforms, as it mandated firms to appoint grievance officer, disclose the first originator of the mischievous information and remove, within 24 hours, content depicting nudity or morphed pictures of women.

Ravi Shankar Prasad said the content involving nudity, morphed pictures of women have to be removed within 24 hours of order.

"There is a rationale behind framing the new guidelines. The Supreme Court had asked us to frame guidelines to cut down hate content and there are also many orders of the high courts," said Prasad.

"The government has done widespread consultation after drafting the rules," he said.

"Social media is empowered and welcome to do business in India, said Ravi Shankar Prasad, adding that it is also very important that social media users must be given a forum against abuse of social media.

"We have received many complaints that some of the content on social media is impinging on the dignity of many users," he said.

Concerns have been raised about rampant abuse of social media platforms and spread of fake news and the government is bringing in a "soft touch" regulation Prasad said while announcing the new guidelines.

As per the new rules, social media intermediaries have to appoint grievance officer, who shall register complaints in 24 hours. The grievance redressal official must be resident in India, and monthly compliance reports will have to be filed by social media platforms.

With the new rules, India joins nations across the world increasingly looking to regulate social media platforms. Recently, Twitter clashed with the Indian government on content takedown requests. The government had asked the micro-blogging giant to remove some 1,100 accounts and posts for alleged spread of misinformation about the widespread protests by farmers against new agricultural laws.

Twitter in response said it had withheld some of the accounts flagged by the Indian government for blocking "within India only", but has not blocked handles of civil society activists, politicians and media as "it would violate their fundamental right to free expression" guaranteed under country's law. Expressing its strong displeasure, the government said it expects Twitter to fully comply with its orders and that they are binding on any business entity.


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