"Share Response ASAP": Centre To Social Media Platforms On Digital Rules

Social media platforms were given three months to comply with the new rules that require them to appoint a compliance officer in India, set up a grievance response mechanism and take down content within 36 hours of a legal order.

Facebook and Google have said they will ensure compliance (Representational)

New Delhi:

The government on Wednesday wrote to major social media platforms on whether they had complied with new digital rules taking effect on the day and asked for their response "ASAP, preferably today".

Platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter were given three months to comply with the new rules that require them to appoint a compliance officer in India, set up a grievance response mechanism and take down content within 36 hours of a legal order.

The note from the Ministry of Electronics and IT asked the companies to give information on the status of compliance and stressed: "Please confirm and share your response ASAP and preferably today itself."

The companies have to give the name and contact details of a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person, a resident grievance officer and a physical address of the company in India.

The new rules require sites to set up a mechanism to respond to complaints and also enable tracing the "first originator" of information found to "undermine the sovereignty of India, security of the state, or public order".

"Significant social media intermediaries", or big sites that host third party information, messages and posts, stand to lose protection from lawsuits and prosecution if they fail to comply with the rules.

This means that big tech companies can no longer be just intermediaries, which gave them legal immunity from objectionable content posted by users. They will be treated as any other publishing platform and can face action.

WhatsApp has gone to court against the rules, saying it will be compelled to trace the origin of messages and break privacy protections to users.

Facebook and Google have said they will ensure compliance. Facebook also says it wants to discuss some "issues which need more engagement".

Twitter is yet to comment; it is caught in the "Congress toolkit" tweet controversy and finds itself on the radar of the government and Delhi Police for marking a BJP leader's post as "manipulated media".