NEW DELHI, October 29: IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on October 29 that the latest IT rules amendment will impose more specific due diligence obligations on social media companies to strive to do ensure that no illegal content or misinformation is posted on their platforms.
On October 28, the government notified rules under which it will set up appeal boards to address grievances users may have against decisions by social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook on hosting contentious content. .
Regarding the formation of three Grievance Appeals Committees (GACs), the Minister said that this decision was made necessary because the government is aware of hundreds of thousands of messages from citizens where grievances have not been answered by the social media companies despite complaints.
“This is not acceptable,” Mr Chandrasekhar told a briefing.
He further said that the government wants social media companies to work as partners to secure the interests of “digital nagriks”.
“Previously, the obligations of intermediaries were limited to informing users of the rules, but now there will be much more specific obligations on platforms. Intermediaries must make efforts to ensure that no illegal content is published on the platform “, did he declare.
In a strong message to Big Tech companies, the minister asserted that the community guidelines of the platforms, whether headquartered in the United States or in Europe, cannot contradict the constitutional rights of Indians when these platforms operate in India.
He said platforms will have an obligation to remove within 72 hours of reporting, any “misinformation” or illegal content or content that promotes enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or caste with the intention of incite violence.
Mr Chandrasekhar said he personally believes that 72 hours is too much, and advocated that if the rules establish such deadlines, platforms must act immediately and urgently against illegal content.
“We will start with 1-2 GAC… The government is not interested in playing the role of ombudsman. This is a responsibility we take reluctantly, as the grievance mechanism is not working properly,” the minister said.
The idea is not to target a company or an intermediary or to make it difficult for them. The government views the internet and online security as a shared responsibility of all, he noted.
On whether sanctions will be imposed on those who fail to comply, he said the government would not like to take punitive action at this stage, but warned that if the situation required it in the future, it would would be considered. (Agencies)