New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Friday gave 15 days' time to the social media platforms to provide details on compliance with the new IT Rules 2021 which came into effect on May 26. Yesterday, the companies were given 24 hours to submit similar compliance reports. 

With Twitter and WhatsApp questioning the new rules, saying that they are unconstitutional and against user privacy, the government said that the new guidelines are prevent abuse and misuse of social media platforms, and offer users a robust forum for grievance redressal. 

The new rules, applicable to online news and digital media entities as well as OTT platforms, require them to follow additional due diligence, including appointment of chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer.

The new, tighter regulations for social media firms requires them to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours and setting up a strong complaint redressal mechanism with an officer being based in the country.

Significant social media companies will have to publish a monthly compliance report disclosing details of complaints received and action taken, as well as details of contents removed proactively. They will also be required to have a physical contact address in India published on its website or mobile app, or both.

Under the rules that would make digital giants more accountable for the content hosted on their platform, companies will have to take down posts depicting nudity or morphed photos within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.

Non-compliance with new IT rules would result in these platforms losing their intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.

Twitter, in a statement on Thursday, has expressed concern over "use of intimidation tactics by the police" after the microblogging platform gave a manipulated media tag to tweets by a BJP leader. Twitter said it is concerned about its employees in India and the "potential threat" to freedom of expression.

In its first official statement after the Delhi Police visited the company's offices in Delhi and in Gurugram on Monday, Twitter said it will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the rule of law.

Earlier this week, WhatsApp filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court challenging the new digital rules on grounds that the requirement for the company to provide access to encrypted messages will break privacy protections.

The government has emphasised that the new norms will not impact normal functioning of the popular free-messaging platform, and the IT Ministry has turned up the heat on significantly large social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp asking them to report their status on compliance with the new rules, which have come into effect.

The ministry in a statement on Wednesday had termed WhatsApp's last moment challenge to the IT rules as an unfortunate attempt to prevent the norms from coming into effect.

The UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada require social media firms to allow for legal interception, it had said, adding "What India is asking for is significantly much less than what some of the other countries have demanded".

As per data cited by the government, India has 53 crore WhatsApp users, 44.8 crore YouTube users, 41 crore Facebook subscribers, 21 crore Instagram users, while 1.75 crore account holders are on microblogging platform Twitter.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta