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OTT Rules Take Effect on 26 May: Twitter, Facebook Yet to Comply

The government’s rules will come into effect from 26 May.

Updated
Policy
3 min read
The IT Rules, meant primarily for social media, have also been extended to streaming platforms and digital news. 
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The deadline to comply with new legal rules meant for big social media platforms, which were issued by the government three months ago, comes to an end on Tuesday, 25 May, posing a threat to the operations of the likes of Twitter and Facebook in India.

IANS reports, quoting official sources, that social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and others, which were required to abide by the rules notified in the Gazette of India on 25 February under Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021, have failed to comply on many counts till date.

In a statement to The Quint, Facebook says that it 'aims to comply' and will continue to discuss the issues with the government on the new IT rules.

“We aim to comply with the provisions of the IT rules and continue to discuss a few of the issues which need more engagement with the government. Pursuant to the IT Rules, we are working to implement operational processes and improve efficiencies. Facebook remains committed to people’s ability to freely and safely express themselves on our platform.”
Facebook Spokesperson

Meanwhile, Twitter declined to comment, when contacted by The Quint.

The government’s rules will come into effect from 26 May.

“If social media companies do not obey the rules, they may lose their status and protections as intermediaries and may become liable for criminal action as per the existing laws of India," sources told IANS.

The rules involve appointing officials such as a resident grievance officer, a chief compliance officer, and a nodal contact person, as well as complaint resolution, monitoring of objectionable content, compliance report and removal of objectionable content.

IANS reported that apart from Koo, none of the top social media intermediaries have appointed a resident grievance officer, a chief compliance officer and a nodal contact person yet.

Sources told The Indian Express that some of these platforms had asked for up to six months to select executives for these roles, but their request had been rejected by the Ministry, which asked them to “strictly adhere” to the guidelines.

According to NDTV, some of these social media intermediaries are waiting for instructions from their headquarters, while IANS reported that they will, in turn, have an “expert assessment” to take a view.

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Delhi Police at Twitter Office

On Monday, a team of the Delhi Police Special Cell visited the offices of Twitter India in Delhi's Lado Sarai and Gurugram.

According to sources cited by news agency ANI, the police team went to the offices to serve a notice to the company, as a part of a “routine process.”

“This was necessitated as it was to ascertain who the right person was to serve a notice, as replies by Twitter India MD had been very ambiguous,” the sources were quoted as saying.

Visuals showed the Delhi Police team at the empty office in Delhi, with workplaces being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier, the police had sent a notice and sought a clarification from Twitter regarding the classification of a tweet by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sambit Patra as ‘manipulated media’, which has caused a standoff between the social media platform and the Centre.

Last week, the Government of India had made a “strong” communication to Twitter, objecting to use of the 'manipulated media' tags on certain tweets by Indian politicians, and asked the social media company to remove them “in the interest of fairness and equity,” sources in the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) had been cited as saying by news agency ANI.

(With inputs from IANS, ANI, NDTV and The Indian Express.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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