New IT rules for social media companies effective from today, what lies ahead for Facebook, Google and Twitter?


New Delhi: As the new IT rules for social media companies take effect from today (May 26), giant digital platforms Facebook and Google have already asserted they are working towards meeting the compliance requirements.

The new rules, announced on February 25, require large social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer.

On Tuesday, Facebook on Tuesday said it is working to implement operational processes and aims to comply with that. The provisions of the IT rules is coming into effect from today. The social media giant, added that it continues to discuss a few of the issues which need more engagement with the government.

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“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,” said a Facebook spokesperson.

Facebook remains committed to people’s ability to freely and safely express themselves on our platform, the spokesperson added.

A Google spokesperson said the company has consistently invested in significant product changes, resources and personnel to ensure that it is combating illegal content in an effective and fair way, and to comply with local laws in the jurisdictions it operates in.

“We realise that our work in keeping our platforms secure is never done and we will continue to refine our existing approaches, and evolve our policies and be as transparent as possible about how we make decisions, the spokesperson said.

Amidst growing concerns around lack of transparency, accountability and rights of users related to digital media and after elaborate consultation with the public and stakeholders, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 had been framed in February.

Among the several guidelines for social and OTT media, the IT rules called for provisions of Additional Due Diligence to Be Followed by Significant Social Media Intermediary:

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 intermediaries providing services primarily in the nature of messaging shall enable identification of the first originator of the information that is required only for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of an offence related to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order or of incitement to an offence relating to the above or in relation with rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years. Intermediary shall not be required to disclose the contents of any message or any other information to the first originator.

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

Announcing the guidelines in February, it had said the new rules take effect immediately, while significant social media providers (based on number of users) will get three months before they need to start complying.

The three-month time period meant compliance by May 25.





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