Information ministry of India has proposed a new rule which requires all social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter to remove unlawful content that might affect the “sovereignty and integrity of India.” Under the proposed law this has to be done under 24 hours. All social media and tech giants are gearing up to adhere to the new rules proposed by the Indian government. This will require them to actively regulate the content in one of the biggest internet markets in the world.
Currently, the rules are proposed and open for public comment until January 31 after which law will be passed with or without changes.
With the national elections to be held be held in May and amidst fears of social media being misused by activists, especially WhatsApp to spread fake news to sway voters.
Governments across the world have held social media firms responsible for what users post on their platforms. Legal opinion on this issue has been asked by the US and India lobby groups representing Facebook and other companies. Work has already commenced drafting objections which will be filed with the IT ministry.
Inside sources revealed the new rules will put the privacy of users at risk and raise costs as it will require continuous monitoring of online content. India has over half a million internet users which consist of 3000 million Facebook users, 200 million WhatsApp users and around Tens of millions of Twitter users.
According to Mozilla Corp, the proposal was a blunt and disappropriate solution to the problem of harmful online content. This could lead to over censorship and chill free expression.
On the other hand, the IT ministry said the proposal was aimed to make social media safer. It is not to suppress the freedom of speech or to impose sponsorship.
Facebook and WhatsApp declined to comment. A Twitter spokesperson said they are working on it and are in talks with the IT Ministry and civil society on the proposed rules.
Apart from India, there have been other countries also who have raised a voice against this issue. For instance, Vietnam has asked tech companies to open local offices and store data locally, Australian parliament has passed a bill which forces the company to give police access to encrypted data. In Germany, social media companies have to remove hate messages within 24 hours or face fines.
According to the new rules, tech companies with more than 5 million users will need to have offices and a nodal officer for 24×7 coordination with the law enforcement agencies. When asked by the government or court order the companies should remove or disable the unlawful content within 24 hours.
The companies under the new rules will also have to reveal the origin of the message when asked which will hurt companies like WhatsApp which serve end to end encryption to protect user privacy.
WhatsApp has faced a lot of criticism after fake messages sparked off mob lynchings in India last year.
One of the government official referring to Whatsapp said you have created a monster, you should have the ability to control the monster. We are open for suggestions but we need social media companies to be more accountable.
- Why Huawei Does Not Supply Kirin Processor
- Pioneer Launches SPH 10BT Car Media Device Uses Your Smartphone As Display
- Instagram Introduces Voice Messaging
[amazon_link asins=’812656914X,1947697005,9353040175′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’technosearch-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’77ddbc63-13e6-42a4-82cf-ac95ee3f5827′]