There are many rumours doing rounds on social media about the ban on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Many users are confused about what news to believe. The Union Government has imposed restrictions from Wednesday as a retort to the Twitter Toolkit row and ‘manipulated media’ tag.
The new guidelines given to the social media platforms were actually issued on February 25.
The government gave three months for the platforms to comply, which ended on Wednesday. Therefore, these guidelines and IT rules are not directly linked to the toolkit or manipulated media issues.
Any social media platform, which has more than 5 million users in India, comes under the ambit of the IT rules. The main requirement of the rule is that social media platforms have to appoint a resident grievance officer who is from India as part of a larger grievance redressal mechanism.
The rule also says that the platforms should also have a mechanism to help authorities identify the content's original creator in case of shared content.
Even after three months, only the Indian-made Koo app has come forward to meet the rule's requirements.
Facebook has announced that they are ready to follow the rules but have some concerns that needed to be discussed with the GOI authorities.
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, has challenged the rule and filed a complaint against the government in the Delhi High Court, saying some sections in the rule is an infringement on the privacy of users. Moreover, Twitter has not responded as yet.
As per the IT rules, the answer is No. Social media platforms can continue operations but they will lose the legal immunity protections of Section 79 of the IT rules.
However, the users will not be put to any new restrictions directly. Regarding identifying and removing the ‘objectionable content’, the existing laws are enough. The new rule has set the tone for timely action on these.
Apart from the social media, OTT platforms were also told to form a grievance redressal committee. They also have to register complaints in 24 hours and address those within 15 days. The platforms were also asked to make sure that age restriction is applicable for any adult content.