Social Media Intermediary Rules 2021, which is aimed at regulating digital content featuring a code of ethics and a three-tier grievance redressal framework which were issued by the government three months ago, is applicable from May 26.
Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, have failed to comply with the new legal rules set by the government. The platforms might lose their status and protections as intermediaries and may face criminal action in India.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting jointly introduced the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 on February 25 to put restrictions on digital platforms.
As per the Guidelines, the platforms should appoint a Chief Compliance Officer responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules. Such a person should be a resident in India. The media should appoint a Nodal Contact Person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies. The Resident Grievance Officer who shall perform the functions mentioned under Grievance Redressal Mechanism should also be appointed.
The guidelines also direct the platforms to publish a monthly compliance report mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken on the complaints and details of contents removed proactively by the significant social media intermediary.
As per media reports, some social media platforms have asked for a six-month deadline, as they were awaiting instructions from their US headquarters.
At the same time, Indian messaging platform Koo said it had complied with the new rules.
Speaking on the issue, Taaran Chanana, MD & Co-Founder of Meme Chat, social networking apps for memes, said, “The recent rumours of a possible ban on popular social media platforms have raised some concerns in key industries that rely on such apps for their messaging. Social media has emerged as a critical vehicle for marketing across different sectors.”
He continued, “The fear also comes from what happened with PUBG and TikTok in the past. The ban on these platforms meant a loss of user data and consumer reach. As a result, we see a dramatic spike in user activity on MemeChat.”
According to sources, last-minute lobbying is going on between the Government and Platform owners to settle the matter.
In the absence of consensus between them, the platforms might knock the doors of Apex Court.