Google, Facebook, WhatsApp comply with new IT rules; Twitter remains intransigent

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(Image credit: dole777 / Unshsplah)

In a major twist, major social media platforms and messaging apps like Facebook, Google, Koo, Sharechat, Telegram, WhatsApp have agreed to comply fully or partially with the new IT rules introduced by the Indian government.

The new IT policies require these Tech platforms with over 50 lakh users to appoint a local grievance officer, a nodal officer, and a chief compliance officer. According to the government officials, both Google and Facebook have initiated the process of updating their website with requisite information and have shared the details with the IT ministry.

Additionally, in a bid to fight fake news the government wants messaging platforms like WhatsApp to implement traceability to track the origin of a message. WhatsApp, rather than agreeing to this condition, sued the Indian government stating that this policy could impact users’ privacy.

On the other hand, it is reported that Twitter, which has been at the loggerheads with the Indian federal government, is yet to comply with the policies. Rather than announcing a compliance officer based in India, Twitter has reportedly shared details of a lawyer working in a law firm as a nodal contact person and grievance officer.

TechRadar India has reached out to Twitter and is yet to get an official response on the same. 

What happens if a platform doesn’t accept the new policies? 

Apart from the appointment of nodal officers and chief compliance officer in the country, the new IT rules require social media companies to take action against flagged content within 36 hours and remove any content that is reported for nudity or pornographic within 24 hours.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter are also required to implement traceability of messages, which according to the government is critical in fighting fake news and stops the spreading of hate messages.

Failing to comply with these laws will result in these platforms will make them liable for action in case a complaint is filed against them. Noncompliance to the new policies will mean that the platform will lose its intermediary status that provides them immunity against being liable for any data shared/hosted on their platform.

While WhatsApp feels that the traceability clause will breach user privacy and hence is apprehensive in agreeing to the condition, Twitter is not ready to accept that the Chief compliance officer can be criminally accountable for any content shared on the platform. It is also against some of the conditions that force Twitter to share the details of its users and feels that this is inconsistent with open, democratic principles.

The Indian government, this time though, has taken a tough stance and wants all such companies to follow the rules of the land, in case they want to operate in the country.

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Jitendra Soni

Jitendra has been working in the Internet Industry for the last 7 years now and has written about a wide range of topics including gadgets, smartphones, reviews, games, software, apps, deep tech, AI, and consumer electronics.