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Centre to bring ‘legal changes’ to make Facebook, Twitter, big tech more accountable; know what draft rules say

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Ashwini Vaishnaw said globally, there is a trend that social media be made accountable. (File)

Ashwini Vaishnaw, the country’s information and technology minister, has said that the Central government will bring about legal changes to make social media more accountable. He said there is a clear consensus among the country that social media platforms must be made more accountable. He said the internet on mobile phones and social media platforms have made transformative changes but they must realise their responsibilities.

“Whatever legal changes are required, we will do. Within media groups, the self-regulation needed…Self regulation will be done…But wherever needed, we will take all steps to make social media more accountable,” he said at a TV9 event. 

Vaishnaw said globally, there is a trend that social media be made accountable and it is the same in India. He reiterated the need to take legal steps. He said no industry wants government’s regulations but it is the government’s responsibility to bring in the change when required. 

What’s Centre doing to make social media platforms accountable?

The Central government has been working to finalise new social media rules. The new social media rules propose that the users get a mechanism to raise their grievances against arbitrary content moderation, inaction or the decision to take down posts made by big tech companies like Twitter and Facebook without any explanation.

Earlier this month, the Information-Technology ministry issued the new draft rules that propose to give social media users the right to appeal against inaction against complaints made to these companies. The rules also seek to give users a chance to appeal against social media platforms’ decisions to make amendments to content. At present, big social media companies have no appellate mechanism. 

According to reports, the Central government wants to finalise these new rules by July-end. 

The Centre last year enforced new IT intermediary rules which require platforms to remove content flagged by the authorities and create a robust complaint redressal system led by an officer residing in India. They are also required to bring down any content linked to nudity within 24 hours of complaint. 

Large social media companies with over 50 lakh users have to publish monthly compliance reports listing complaints received and action taken. It also needs to mention the posts social media companies have taken down of their own accord. 

With inputs from PTI

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