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India amends IT rules, warns social media firms against ‘unlawful’ content

Rajeev Chandrashekhar, the Indian minister of information technology, said on Saturday, October 29, that the most recent changes to IT regulations will require social media companies to exercise greater caution in ensuring that no unlawful content or incorrect information is put on their platforms. The Indian Union government announced a day earlier that it would create three-member Grievance Appealte Committees (GACs) to handle complaints over judgments made by social media companies like Twitter and Facebook regarding the hosting of controversial content.

According to Chandrashekhar, the action was necessary as the government receives thousands of letters from residents complaining that social media companies have not addressed their problems despite their complaints. In order to safeguard the interests of its ‘digital netizens,’ he asked social media businesses to work with the government during the briefing.

With the aim of providing a secure and reliable internet for all of its residents, Chandrasekhar stated, our government wishes to collaborate on a partnership model with all large and small foreign and Indian firms on the internet. The minister issued a sharp caution to companies that operate outside not to infringe upon the constitutional rights of Indian residents when those platforms are used in India.

The platforms must erase any ‘misinformation’ or ‘illegal content,’ he continued, within 72 hours. The Minister stated, ‘The first few GACs will be… The job of ombudsman is not one that the government is interested in playing. Given that the grievance procedure isn’t working correctly, it’s a responsibility we’re reluctantly accepting’. According to the minister, the goal is to create a safe environment on the internet rather than to single out any company or platform.


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