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Monday, April 12, 2021

    Centre announces new social media rules to curb misuse

    The guidelines come in the backdrop of allegations that social media platforms were being used to spread fake news, broadcast unethical content.

    Guwahati: The social media platforms will be required to disclose the first originator of the mischievous content, said IT minister Ravi Sankar Prasad while announcing the new social media rules on Thursday.

    The guidelines, titled, ‘Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021’, come in the backdrop of allegations that social media platforms were being used to spread fake news, broadcast unethical content as well as the latest privacy row created due to WhatsApp’s new policy.

    Prasad said the new guidelines are aimed at curbing the rampant abuse and empowering ordinary users of social media.

    Other important rules include the establishment of a grievance redressal mechanism by respective social media platforms to resolve issues faced by their users such as harassment, posting of obscene pictures and videos.

    “This should be only in relation to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, public order, relations with foreign states, or rape, sexually explicit content etc,” said IT Minister.

    He stressed that the social media intermediaries would have to reveal details of the first originator of a mischievous post.

    Following the receipt of a lawful order, an intermediary, such as Twitter, YouTube or Facebook would expeditiously, but not later than 72 hours, provide information under its control or possession, or any assistance to the lawfully authorized government agency.

    Detailing the key highlights of the guidelines, Prasad said, “Content involving nudity, morphed pictures of women have to be removed in 24 hours. Social media intermediaries will have to appoint a grievance officer, who shall register complaints within 24 hours.”

    He also said that social media platforms will have provision for voluntary verification of the user’s. Major social media companies will get a window of three months to implement the new rules.

    “The government welcomes criticism and right to dissent but it is very important for the users of social media to have a forum to raise their grievance against the misuse of social media,” Prasad further added.

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