The deadline to comply with new IT Rules 2021 is due today, and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are yet to comply with these as reported by the Indian Express. Now, Facebook has issued a statement saying it plans to comply with all the rules soon.
“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. Pursuant to the IT Rules, we are working to implement operational processes and improve efficiencies. Facebook remains committed to people’s ability to freely and safely express themselves on our platform,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to indianexpress.com.
As noted in the earlier report, if the companies fail to comply with the new rules, they could lose protection accorded to them under section 79 of the Information Technology Act. Section 79 gives social media intermediaries immunity from legal prosecution for content posted on their platforms.
The rules were notified in the Gazette of India on February 25, and impose several restrictions on social media intermediaries such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and others. The rules also call for the players to enable tracing of the ‘original’ creator of a message or a tweet as maybe be directed or needed by the relevant authorities. For end-to-end encrypted platforms such as WhatsApp, such rules could pose a big challenge. It is not clear how WhatsApp or Facebook, its parent company, plan to comply with these.
Redressal mechanism for social media companies
The rules require social media intermediaries with more than 50 lakh users to have a clear mechanism for addressing user complaints and problems. The rules calls for companies to appoint a Chief Compliance Officer, who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules, a 24×7 Nodal Contact Person for coordination with law enforcement agencies and a Resident Grievance Officer, who shall perform the functions mentioned under Grievance Redressal Mechanism. All these officers need to be residents of India.
The rules also state that social media companies will need to publish a monthly compliance report on how they handle these user complaints. Further, if there are complaints against the dignity of women and children, the companies have to remove any such objectionable content within 24 hours.