Kolkata, India: Social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram face the imminent possibility of a ban in the Indian market after the platforms have failed to comply with the new Intermediary Guidelines set by the government.
The deadline to adopt the government’s instructions is today, May 25, which has gone unattended by the social media giants, including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter.
The new law, as per the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, social media platforms must recruit compliance officers from India who will take care of the complaints, keep an eye on the content, and remove it if it is offensive. These restrictions apply to over-the-top (OTT) sites as well.
However, none of the media giants mentioned above were ready to face the government with compliance.
The only social media app that has conformed with the new standards ahead of the May 25 deadline is Koo, the Indian counterpart of Twitter that has gained exposure in the recent days amid a legal scuffle with GOI and Twitter over political issues.
The new law
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITy) gave social networks three months to comply with the new IT guidelines in February 2021.
The law set a threshold of 50 lakh plus users to comply with the ‘significant social media intermediary’ law-putting Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram under the boundary.
But since Facebook and Twitter have so far failed to comply with the new law, as per Indian media reports, they could lose their intermediary status and protections, and criminal action may be taken against them under Indian law, according to a government official.
The Indian government cited the lack of a social media regulation body in India as the reason for the enactment of the new laws.
Both the US-based Corporations situated in the United States had requested a six-month extension to comply with the laws because they were awaiting a response from the US headquarters, as per reports.
Facebook said they 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.
“Pursuant 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,” the company said in a statement.
OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming companies will be required to establish a grievance redressal officer headquartered in India who will handle complaints and respond within 15 days.