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Social Media Guidelines in India 2021

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Introduction

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in consultation with its stakeholders and primarily with Ministry of Information and Broadcasting notifies Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 to regulate and govern the activity of social media and OTT platform.

OTT stands for ‘over-the-top’ which refers to any media service that provides content digitally via app or website over the internet instead of traditional distribution network.

The proposed rules is primarily based to regulate the social media and OTT platform existing in India. The proposed rule has not yet notified but time it notifies then the stakeholders is required to complete the designed compliance within 3 months’ time duration.

Stakeholder (Top 5) governed under this rule are:

S. No

Social Media

OTT Platform

1

Whatsapp // 53 Crore users

Netflix

2

YouTube // 44.8 Crore users

Amazon Prime Video

3

Facebook // 41 Crore users

Disney+ Hotstar

4

Instagram // 21 Crore users

Zee5

5

Twitter // 1.75 Crore users

SonyLiv

Social Media acknowledgement and user report is taken from Press Information Bureau Publication.

Further, media report approx. 29 Crore OTT platform users as on July, 2020 and the number of user is increasing day by day with huge market potentials.

Key points of Proposed Rule, 2021 are:-

  • Social media will be required to appoint India-based compliance officers to implement the Indian Constitution and law of land on such platform from being unauthorized and illegal post or comment been placed there. Further if the content been removed once posted at platform then social media owner is required to inform users, give reason for taking down their post and hear them out.
  • Social media sites have to disclose “first originator” of any mischievous message. It is observed that the media campaigning with some post, tweet and retweet been extremely practices in recent days. Might be the reason the Government on stake of freedom of speech, are trying to restrict such message and trace the originator so that guilty can be punished. On press release, the minister bluntly has asked and instructed the social media owner to “state who began the mischief?” at any cost. Such person on proven guilty will be punished by 5 years imprisonment.
  • A three-tier mechanism to enforce the Code of Ethics: self-regulation; self-regulation by the self-regulating bodies and government’s oversight mechanism is proposed. The oversight mechanism will include committee with representation from the ministry of defense, external affairs, Home, I & B, Law, IT and Women and Child Development with suo-moto powers to call for hearings on complaints of violation of the Code of Ethics.
  • Self-classification for streaming services on content that is for 13-plus, 16-plus or adults on the basis of age sex, violence and nudity. It is mechanism to ensure children no to access content not approved for them.
  • Digital news media will follow rules under the Press Council of India. New website will have to be registered on the information and Broadcasting Ministry site.
  • Social media sites have to remove or disable offensive or illegal content within 36 hours of being notified or of a court order.
  • Companies have to appoint a grievance officer to receive, acknowledge and resolve complaints within a month. Tech giants will also have to appoint grievances officers.
  • An intermediary has to, within 24 hours of a complaint, remove or disable access to content that is illegal or offensive.
  • Appointment of chief compliance office resident in India, Nodal contact person for 24*7 coordination with law enforcement agencies resident in India and monthly reporting thereon are more few notable compliance report asked by Rules.

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Author
Shamshad Alam
Experienced Digital Marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the internet industry. He likes to write about the latest technology trends, Skilled in Digital Marketing likes. Search Engine Optimization, SMO, SEM, PPC, Content Writing, and, Designing, etc.