Most social media firms comply with India’s new IT rules; Twitter yet to follow

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As per the guidelines, first, the social media platforms will have to have a chief compliance officer residing in India responsible for ensuring compliance with the act and the rules. Image Credit: AP

New Delhi: Most of the major social media intermediaries, including Koo, Sharechat, Telegram, LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc., on Friday shared details of their Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), Nodal Contact Person (NCP), and Grievance Officer (GO) with the Union Electronics and IT Ministry as required by the new I-T (Intermediary Guidelines & Digital Media Ethics Code) rules, sources informed. However, the sources added that micro-blogging site Twitter is still not following the rules.

After a firm response from the Central government on Thursday, Twitter sent a communication late last night, sharing details of a lawyer working in a law firm in India as their Nodal Contact Person and Grievance Officer. However, it has not yet sent the details of the CCO to the Ministry.

WhatsApp on Wednesday had moved the Delhi High Court against the Centre’s recently imposed IT Rules that would require the messaging services to “trace” the origin of particular messages sent on the service.

WhatsApp through its statement said, “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.”

On February 25, the Centre framed the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, in the exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011, which will come into effect from May 26.

The new guidelines issued by the government of India mandated a grievance redressal system for over the top (OTT) and digital portals in the country. Under the new rules, social media platforms will have to have a grievance redressal mechanism. They will also have to name a grievance officer who shall register the grievance within 24 hours and disposal in 15 days.

The government had said that if there are complaints against the dignity of users, particularly women – about exposed private parts of individuals or nudity or sexual act or impersonation etc – social media platforms will be required to remove that within 24 hours after a complaint is made.

As per the guidelines, first, the social media platforms will have to have a chief compliance officer residing in India responsible for ensuring compliance with the act and the rules.

Second is a nodal contact person who should reside in India for 24X7 coordination with law enforcement agencies. Also, social media platforms have to appoint a resident grievance officer who shall perform the grievance redressal mechanism as indicated. They also will have to publish a monthly report about the number of complaints received and the status of redressal.