Facebook, Google express readiness to comply with new IT rules
Centre’s revised IT rules 2021 comes into effect from May 26 for social media platforms & news sites
With the Indian government’s new IT rules coming into effect on May 26, global tech giant Facebook Inc. has said that it aims to comply with the latest guidelines.
The Centre announced the Social Media Intermediary rules 2021 in February to regulate digital content with a three-tier grievance redressal framework and designated code of ethics. The Centre had given three months to news websites, OTT platforms, and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp to comply with the new IT rules, which ended on May 25.
On Tuesday, Facebook issued a statement, underlining that it is working on implementing operation processes and improves efficiencies in line with the new 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,” the Mark-Zuckerberg-owned social media giant said in its statement.
It further expressed commitment towards providing the ability to people to freely and safely express on its platform.
In addition, a Google spokesperson has reportedly said that the company is working on complying with the updated rules. The spokesperson noted that the company ensures 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, as quoted by media reports.
According to the new rules, large social media intermediaries (with more than 50 lakh registered users) such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram are required to follow additional due diligence, which includes the appointment of a chief compliance officer, resident grievance officer, and nodal contact person. Furthermore, the government has asked social media platforms to publish their physical contact details and other related information on the website.
Failure in compliance with the new rules would result in the social media giants losing the ‘intermediary’ status which provides them certain exemptions and immunity from liabilities for any third-party information. It indicates that these social media platforms would become liable for criminal action for non-compliance with the revised rules.
Amid this development, WhatsApp reportedly filed a lawsuit against the new digital policy of the government in the Delhi High Court on Tuesday. In the petition, the Facebook-owned messaging platform has said that one of the regulations under the new policy is in violation of the privacy of its users.
“Requiring messaging apps to ‘trace’ chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy,” WhatsApp said in its statement.