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Facebook, Twitter to be blocked in India tomorrow?

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Deadline to approve new guidelines of central government today

Ground Report | New Delhi: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram can be banned in India from tomorrow ie 26 May 2021. The central government had instructed all the social media companies operating in the country to follow certain rules and gave 3 months time for it which is going to be completed on 26 May. The deadline to approve the new guidelines of the central government ends today i.e. on May 25. In such a situation, the restrictions on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will come into force from tomorrow.

However, before the deadline is over, Facebook has issued a statement saying that it respects the new guideline of the government. Also working towards implementing it. Facebook said that talks are underway with its government to implement the new guideline. At the same time, 6 months time is being sought from Twitter to implement the new guideline. 

Guidelines Related to Social Media:

The Rules prescribe due diligence that must be followed by intermediaries, including social media intermediaries. In case, due diligence is not followed by the intermediary, safe harbour provisions will not apply to them.

The Rules seek to empower the users by mandating the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims. Intermediaries shall appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints andshare the name and contact details of such officer. Grievance Officer shall acknowledge the complaint within twenty four hours and resolve it within fifteen days from its receipt.

Intermediaries shall remove or disable access withing 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents that exposes the private areas of individuals, show such individuals in full or partial nudity or in sexual act or is in the nature of impersonation including morphed images etc. Such a complaint can be filed either by the individual or by any other person on his/her behalf.

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Intermediaries shall remove or disable access withing 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents that exposes the private areas of individuals, show such individuals in full or partial nudity or in sexual act or is in the nature of impersonation including morphed images etc. Such a complaint can be filed either by the individual or by any other person on his/her behalf.

Additional compliance for “critical social media intermediaries”

Appoint a Chief Compliance Officer who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules. Such a person should be a resident in India.

Appoint a Nodal Contact Person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies. Such a person shall be a resident in India.

Appoint a Resident Grievance Officer who shall perform the functions mentioned under Grievance Redressal Mechanism. Such a person shall be a resident in India.

Publish a monthly compliance report mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken on the complaints as well as details of contents removed proactively by the significant social media intermediary.

Significant social media intermediary shall have a physical contact address in India published on its website or mobile app or both.

Users who wish to verify their accounts voluntarily shall be provided an appropriate mechanism to verify their accounts and provided with demonstrable and visible mark of verification. 

ALSO READ: Government frames new rules for online news, social media

In cases where significant social media intermediaries removes or disables access to any information on their own accord, then a prior intimation for the same shall be communicated to the user who has shared that information with a notice explaining the grounds and reasons for such action. Users must be provided an adequate and reasonable opportunity to dispute the action taken by the intermediary. 

Your free expression and privacy really concerns us!

According to the report of Internetfreedom.in, Some of the more disturbing aspects of the rules of intermediaries coming into force from 25 May are Rules 4 (2) and 4 (4). Under Rule 4 (2), significant social media intermediaries that are primarily in the nature of messaging services should enable the ability to trace the originator of messages. This is severely detrimental to the fundamental rights of speech and privacy of all citizens, as it will inevitably weaken end-to-end encryption and may cause a chilling effect on speech in private conversations.

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84% Indian consumers willing to pay more to protecting data privacy

According to research from information management solutions company, OpenText, most Indian consumers will pay more to do business with an organization committed to data protection. The research includes data from a survey of 6,000 Indian respondents and exposes public uncertainty and mistrust of how organizations handle their data.

According to the report, 84 percent of Indian consumers prefer organizations committed to protecting their data privacy, overtaking the United Kingdom (49 percent), Germany (41 percent), Spain (36 percent) and France (17 percent).

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