The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) wrote to social media platforms asking for their compliance status with the new digital rules taking effect on Wednesday, 26 May.
Various social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter were given three months to comply with the new IT Rules that required them to appoint a compliance officer, set up a grievance response mechanism, provide a physical address of the company, and take down content within three 36 of legal order, NDTV reported.
MeitY in its note asked the Significant Social Media Intermediary (SSMI) to, “please confirm and share your response ASAP and preferably today itself”.
The Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code says, "significant social media intermediaries" or sites that host third party information, messages, and posts stand to lose protection from lawsuits and prosecution if they fail to comply with the rules, which means that social media companies will no longer have legal immunity from objectionable content posted by users and will be treated as any other publishing platform and can face action.
Right to Privacy Respected but...
Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad was quoted as saying, “Government is committed to ensure the Right of Privacy to all its citizens but at the same time it is also the responsibility of the government to maintain law and order and ensure national security.”
The government respects the 'Right to Privacy' and has no intention to violate it when WhatsApp would be required to disclose the origin of a particular message, MeitY said in a statement on Wednesday, 26 May, after the Facebook-owned messaging service moved the Delhi High Court, challenging the Centre's new digital platform rules.
Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, in the release, stated, “None of the measures proposed by India will impact the normal functioning of WhatsApp in any manner whatsoever, and for the common users, there will be no impact.”
"As per all established judicial dictum, no Fundamental Right, including the Right to Privacy, is absolute and it is subject to reasonable restrictions. The requirements in the Intermediary Guidelines pertaining to the first originator of information are an example of such a reasonable restriction (sic),” the release added.
Facebook and Google have said that they will ensure compliance. Meanwhile, Twitter is yet to respond on the same.
(With inputs from NDTV)