New Delhi | Jagran Tech Desk: The central government on Wednesday sought response from all social media platforms with fifty lakh or above registered users, on compliance with new IT Rules (2021) that have come into effect from May 26 onwards.

“Please confirm and share your response ASAP and preferably today itself,” Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) wrote in its letter to ‘all Significant Social Media Intermediaries’ (SSMI), while requesting the details of compliance of the new IT Rules, 2021.

The ministry has sought details and contact information of Chief Compliance Officer, Resident Grievance Officer and Nodal Contact Person who have been appointed by digital platforms under the new social media rules, as per the note seen by PTI.

"As you including your parent company or any other subsidiary, provide a variety of services in India some of which falls within the definition of SSMIs (significant social media intermediaries) in the context of the IT Act and the aforesaid Rules. Accordingly, as part of ascertaining the compliance to these Rules, you are requested to provide the following information...," the ministry said.

Defined as Significant Social Media Intermediary (SSMI) in the Information Technology )Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rule 2021, the social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Facebook-owned Whatsapp and Instagram, Snapchat and others were supposed to notify the government about moderation of their content policies in accordance to the new rules. The new rules which were notified in February-2021 had given three months of time to the respective SSMIs to notify the government about their compliance to the new digital rules.

The government in its letter on Wednesday also asked the social media platforms to clarify why they should not be considered Significant Social Media Intermediary (SSMI).

While Facebook-owned Whatsapp challenged the new guidelines in Delhi High Court. Facebook on Monday categorically stated that it will comply with the new provisions added in the IT Rules, 2021.

On the suit filed by instant messaging app in Delhi High Court, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad said the “government is committed to ensuring the right of privacy to all its citizens but at the same time it is also the responsibility of the government to maintain law and order and ensure national security,” according to the statement released by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Non-compliance with rules would result in these social media companies losing their intermediary status that provides them exemptions and certain immunity from liabilities for any third-party information and data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.

The new rules require them to take down any content flagged by the authorities within 36 hours, and set up a robust mechanism to respond to complaints.

The new IT rules also require significant social media intermediaries -- providing services primarily in the nature of messaging -- to enable identification of the "first originator" of information that undermines sovereignty of India, security of the state, or public order.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta