New IT rules not targeted at social media companies, will just make them act against unlawful content: MoS Chandrasekhar | India News

NEW DELHI: The government on Saturday said that the new IT Rules are not targeted at social media giants operating in the country, but have been introduced to give an effective redressal forum to the millions of internet users whose grievances often go unheard. If found to be ineffective, a regime of penalties may follow, though there are no such plans in the near term.
“The new rules are not about making life difficult for anybody, or selectively targeting any company,” minister of state for IT and electronics Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, a day after rolling out the amendments to the IT Intermediaries Rules of 2021 which lead to the formation of government-appointed Grievance Appellate Committees (GAC). They will have powers to overturn the decisions of companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube around suspending, blocking or removing user accounts.
Chandrasekhar said that the government was getting “lakhs of messages” from citizens and digital users who complained that their grievances were not being responded to by the companies. “This was not acceptable to us.”
“In good faith, we always hoped that the intermediaries (social media platforms) will understand and take note of the grievances of the users, instead of engaging in just tokenism. However, as there was not much headway, we decided to proceed with the concept of having GACs,” the minister said, adding that the amendments will now put obligations on internet companies to ensure that no unlawful content or misinformation is posted on their platforms.
“The obligations of intermediaries earlier was limited to notifying users of the rules. But now, there will be much more definite obligations on the platforms. Intermediaries will have to make efforts to ensure that no unlawful content is posted on the platforms.”
The minister also said that the self-created community guidelines of the platforms – whether headquartered in the United States or Europe — cannot contradict the constitutional rights of Indians.
The platforms will also have the obligation to remove — within 72 hours of flagging — any “misinformation” or illegal content or content that promotes enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion or caste with the intent to incite violence.
“We have to ensure that the internet remains open, trusted and safe, and that there is accountability of the intermediaries.”
Asked whether the government gets overriding powers over the social media companies through the amendments, he said that this was never the intention. “The GACs will sit as an appellate body in the event where a consumer is dissatisfied with the grievance process of an intermediary.”
On the constitution of the GAC, he said details regarding their structure, scope, powers, composition and terms of reference will be announced very soon.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.