Following the Twitter squabble, the government has set a deadline for it, Facebook, to name officers

Both major social media intermediaries were expected to appoint executives for these positions by May 26 under guidelines released in February. In India, social media firms with more than 50 lakh users are classified as "major" social media intermediaries.

image credit: indianexpress.com

Sources tell that social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have yet to name a resident grievance officer, a chief enforcement officer, and a nodal contact official, despite the fact that the deadline is only two days away.


Both major social media intermediaries were expected to appoint executives for these positions by May 26 under guidelines released in February. In India, social media firms with more than 50 lakh users are classified as "major" social media intermediaries.


According to reports, if the businesses do not cooperate over the next two days, they will forfeit the immunity granted to them under section 79 of the Information Technology Act.


“If some untoward event occurs or any improper and immoral material is posted over their website, they will be legally liable,” a source in the IT Ministry said on condition of anonymity.



Section 79 of the Communications Decency Act protects social media intermediaries from legal liability over content shared to their sites.


Facebook and Instagram did not respond to emails asking why no executives had been promoted to these positions so far, or whether they hoped to do so soon.



For the time being, Twitter has declined to comment.



The IT Ministry is also said to have taken firm offense to the intermediaries' assertion that they will have to consult with their US headquarters before naming executives to these positions.



“The most common response we received from these intermediaries was that they were waiting for orders from their US headquarters. How is it fair that teams in the United States will make an ex parte evaluation of the situation as they do business in India and receive revenue from data collected by Indian users? “Grievances cannot be put off before the US responds,” the source added.


On February 25, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) issued new guidelines for major social media intermediaries, requiring all platforms of more than 50 lakh users in India to appoint a resident grievance officer, a chief compliance officer, and a nodal contact person within three months and publish their details on the comity's website.


According to reports, several major social media intermediaries requested up to six months from February 25 to finalize executives for these positions, but the Ministry turned them down and told them to "strictly adhere" to the guidelines.



“Why does it take longer than three months to name only three people? It's a product of their sour stance toward Indian markets, according to a senior Ministry official.


The Ministry also requested all major social media intermediaries to send a monthly report on the number of complaints lodged against the material on their website or regulation, how many were taken up, and the status of the others, as part of the February 25 regulations. According to the reports, the condition has also not been met so far.


“On these sites, someone is being defamed, someone is being exploited, and there is no accountability. Victims have struggled because they don't know who to contact in the absence of public records, according to another source.


According to reports, the IT Ministry has also sent a new communication to Twitter, requesting that it reveal the identities of its "fact-checkers," how they are chosen, and what their "status" is.


The Ministry of Health had written to Twitter two days earlier, requesting that the “manipulated media” tag be removed from some of the tweets sent by political leaders in response to a “toolkit” allegedly designed to “undermine, derail, and demean” the government's attempts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.


According to the Ministry, such tagging by Twitter seemed prejudged, prejudiced, and a calculated effort to slant local law enforcement agencies' investigations.



“This conduct not only undermines Twitter's reputation as a neutral and impartial forum that facilitates user exchange of opinions, but it also calls into question Twitter's role as an intermediary,” the Ministry wrote in the document.


The Ministry's letter elicited no response from Twitter.


According to the latest data from the IT Ministry, India had 530 million WhatsApp users, 448 million YouTube users, 410 million Facebook users, 210 million Instagram users, and 17.5 million Twitter users as of February 2021.



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source: indianexpress.com


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