Centre To Issue FAQs On Intermediary Guidelines Soon: Report

Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar is learnt to be spearheading the initiative on the proposed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), which are expected to be issued in a matter of days.

Centre To Issue FAQs On Intermediary Guidelines Soon: Report

India enforced new IT intermediary rules earlier this year (Representational)

New Delhi:

The IT ministry will soon release "Frequently Asked Questions" around the intermediary guidelines to enable better understanding of the goals and provisions of the new rules among various stakeholders, including users, sources said.

Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar is learnt to be spearheading the initiative on the proposed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), which are expected to be issued in a matter of days.

The FAQs will drive the overall objective of ensuring that Indian internet is seen as safe for consumers and attractive for investments by investors, the sources added.

Simply put, the FAQs would comprise questions that people ask about the rules, and are geared to make it easier for users to understand the norms around internet and social media.

Typically, questions could range from what the guidelines mean for public and intermediaries to how they safeguard users, who to approach in case of complaints, and the role of compliance and grievance officers.

It will also create awareness about rights of users, and obligations of platforms.

Once released, the FAQs on IT rules and intermediary norms will be placed on the ministry's website, and widely-publicised.

Separately, the ministry is working on Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) around the IT rules and intermediary norms.

The SOPs are expected have details of the appropriate agencies who will have the authority to issue takedown notices to platforms. The SOPs are still "work in progress" and could take some more time before they are announced, the sources indicated.

India enforced new IT intermediary rules earlier this year, aiming to bring greater accountability for big tech companies, including Twitter and Facebook.

The rules require social media platforms to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours and set up a robust complaint redressal mechanism with an officer being based in the country.

Social media companies are required to take down posts depicting nudity or morphed photos within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.

Significant social media companies -- those with 50 lakh users or more -- also have to publish a monthly compliance report disclosing details of complaints received and action taken, as also the contents removed proactively.

As per data cited by the Indian government earlier this year, there are 53 crore WhatsApp users, 41 crore Facebook subscribers, 21 crore Instagram users, while 1.75 crore account holders are on microblogging platform Twitter.

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