Social Media Apps Facebook, Twitter, Instagram May Be Blocked After Implementation Of New IT Rules

25 May, 2021 (Tuesday)

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram social media sites could potentially face a ban in India unless they comply with the latest Guidelations for Intermediaries. The deadline for acceptance of government directives will expire on 25 May. To date, Twitter has not fulfilled the latest rules for all of the sites, including WhatsApp, Facebook. The Twitter Indian edition, Koo, is the only social networking application that fulfilled the new directives before the deadline of 25 May. The rules for news sites and OTT platforms were announced in February and they were given three months to comply. Sources said if the companies fail to follow the rules, their intermediary status can be ended and they may be subject to criminal action.

The rules include the appointment of India-based compliance officials, giving their name and contact address in India. They will have "suo motu powers" to call hearings on complaints of violation of the Code of Ethics if it wants. The government will also designate an officer of the rank of a Joint Secretary or above as the "Authorised Officer" who can direct blocking of content. The Electronics & Information Technology ministry gave a three-month deadline to social media platforms to comply with the new rules.

The government had said its aim was to establish what it called a "soft touch progressive institutional mechanism with a level-playing field".  

No company has so far hired officers, except one, according to reports. All platforms requested a deadline of six months to wait for orders from their offices in the United States.