Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter may lose 'intermediaries' tag in two days

Started by devikad, May 25, 2021, 03:09 PM

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Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter may lose 'intermediaries' tag in two days

Top social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter are at the risk of losing their status and protections as "intermediaries" and may become liable for criminal action, if they do not comply with the IT Rules which were notified in February and come into effect from Wednesday, official sources told ET. Significant social media intermediaries were given three months time to comply with the new rules -- a deadline which expires on May 26 -- but sources said that none of the top platforms has complied till date.

If they lose their immunity as intermediaries, they will be equally responsible for any unlawful content (say obscene pictures or impersonation) as the person posting such content under the Indian Penal Code. The top requirements under the new rules were to appoint Resident Grievance Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Nodal Contact Person and publish their details on their website along with a physical contact address. The rules had also mandated traceability of the originator of messages along with provision for voluntary verification to users as a means to establish their identity.

The platforms were to also furnish monthly reports as to how many grievances were filed and settled. Sources said that the platforms sought more time -- up to six months -- for furnishing compliance but the government is unwilling to give any extension. In their defence, platforms have been saying that they are awaiting instructions from their company headquarters in the US.

"They do business in India, earn good revenue but grievance redressal will have to await instructions from the US. Some platforms like Twitter keep their own fact-checkers whose names are neither made public nor is there any transparency as to how they are selected and what is their standing," said the official.

Except one Indian social media company Koo, none of the significant social media intermediaries have appointed the officers. "The point to note is that why should the appointment of three persons namely Resident Grievance Officer, the Chief Compliance Officer and Nodal Contact Person should take more than three months? People who are victims of social media have suffered because of the abuse practically because they do not know whom to approach in social media in absence of any public information," the official said.

Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp did not immediately respond to ET requests for comments.

Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/facebook-whatsapp-and-twitter-may-lose-intermediaries-tag-in-two-days/82928845

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