Soon after Tomorrow, Twitter and Facebook To Be Banned in India?
In order to improve social media platforms that have seen tremendous growth in use in India over the past few years, new rules were developed to hold the platforms more accountable and to hold them more responsible for the content hosted on their platforms.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter could face a ban in India if they fail to comply with the current guidelines for social media platforms that regulate intermediaries.
Despite having been given a three-month deadline by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), no organisation has approved the guidelines except for Koo, India’s Twitter equivalent.
Despite these businesses seeking a complete six-month delay in their implementation, the regulations will take effect on May 26.
However, if Facebook and Twitter refuse to comply with the new laws, will they really be barred from the country?
Failure to comply with these guidelines would see them demoted as social media outlets and further exposed as middlemen. Additionally, the government may act against them as per the law of the land if they do not obey the laws.
It’s possible that the majority of users in India may not be able to access these social media sites starting tomorrow, but this doesn’t necessarily mean this. Nikhil Pahwa, digital rights activist and co-founder of MediaNama, told reporters:
Even if the government would implement all the rules and require social media sites to bear the responsibility, it is doubtful the companies would then be able to appeal the guidelines because they would no longer be in a position to move the courts.
He elaborated, explaining that the government doesn’t want to provide the social media giants with an incentive to go to court, since the regulations are “unconstitutional.” This is because the government fears that being humiliated in court will harm its reputation.
He further commented, “The laws are being questioned on grounds such as these.”
Also, it was predicted that the Centre would release a set of FAQs to answer the questions raised by these guidelines. There is a risk that the deadline will be extended if the Ministry of Electronics and IT has difficulty solving the problem.
Additionally, Pahwa said that the government would have zero chance of blocking US-based platforms due to the strength of the US government.” There is ZERO possibility that the Indian government will impede American platforms during Jaishankar’s trip to the US to meet with the United States government.
The Centre requires all social media outlets to adhere to these guidelines.
The new regulations, which went into effect on February 25, set a deadline of 36 hours for social media platforms to delete any material flagged by the government, as well as set up a complaint redressal process with an officer stationed in the country.
At this threshold, the government mandated that organisations with more than 50,000 registered users, including Twitter, Facebook, and Google, comply with additional rules.
In February, the new guidelines were made public, and it was stated that the new regulations would take effect immediately. Meanwhile, a large number of social media platforms based on user count (i.e. popular social media platforms) will have three months to comply.
Due to the three-month time frame, the enforcement date was set at May 25.
In addition, social media sites will have to include a compliance report each month that lists reports received and the response. This report may also provide details about material that was taken down proactively. If they already have a physical contact address in India posted on their website or mobile app, they would also be expected to have a telephone number in India.
In order to allow social media sites like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Instagram to be more accountable and responsible for the content they host, new rules were enacted to go into effect in India.
Within 24 hours of receiving a complaint, social networking sites must take down any posts featuring nudity or morphed images.
The rules do not allow for the provision of intermediary services primarily in the nature of messaging, and that excludes services such as Slack and WhatsApp.
A third party, however, would not be allowed to reveal the contents of any post. A crisis like this may have significant repercussions for companies like Twitter and WhatsApp.
Additionally, users who volunteer to validate their accounts are provided with a method to do so and are awarded a mark of verification that is readily available to others.
If an important social media intermediary like Facebook removes content, users would have to be informed and given an opportunity to object prior to it happening. To assist users in contesting the operation of intermediaries, providers must ensure that users are provided with an appropriate and sufficient amount of time to do so.