Tightening the noose on social media platforms- Facebook, YouTube and Twitter- pertaining to alleged abusive posts, videos and other content, the central government has vowed to strengthen the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines), 2011 under IT Act to check what it has termed as “new forms of challenges”.
This comes after FMCG majors like PepsiCo, ITC and Patanjali seeking the court’s intervention to delete videos from Facebook, Google and YouTube that allegedly defame their products in the wrong way.
Replying to a question in Rajya Sabha on whether the government had taken steps to curb the menace of trolling on social media platforms and whether it was planning to formulate any new policy for the social media and its users, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said, “Government will further strengthen these guidelines to address new forms of challenges.”
“Social media platforms are required to follow due diligence prescribed in these rules, which inter alia includes informing the users of computer resources not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, update or share any information that is harmful, objectionable, affects minors and is unlawful in any way. The government will further strengthen these guidelines to address new forms of challenges,” Rathore said in the Upper House on Monday.
Facebook has Community Standard Guidelines and reportedly was trying to balance between freedom of expression and malicious contents.
Earlier this year, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had planned to set up a Social Media Communication Hub that would help it keep a tab on trending news in districts and gather feedback on the Centres flagship schemes. Under the project, media persons would be employed on contractual basis in each district to be the “eyes and ears” of the government and provide real-time updates from the ground, according to PTI report. Recently, the Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL), a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the ministry, had floated a tender to supply a software for the project.
However, the Supreme Court had taken a strong note of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s decision to set up a social media hub for monitoring online data, observing that it will be “like creating a surveillance state”.