New IT Rules explained: What Facebook, Twitter, Instagram need to change to avoid ban

With social media platforms failing to comply with new rules, several have questioned whether there can be an Instagram ban, Facebook or Twitter ban in India.

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The future of several top social media platforms has come under contention after government sources revealed that the Tech giants owning these platforms had failed to comply with India’s new social media rules rolled out in February. Big names such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have failed to meet certain deadlines under the Centre’s new IT rules. This has led to several questioning whether there can be an Instagram ban, Facebook or Twitter ban in India.

Centre’s new guidelines for social media explained

On February 25, the Centre released The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 for regulating content on OTT platforms and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The new IT guidelines have been released to make the social media platforms more responsible and accountable for the content that they allow the users to put out on their platforms.

With the new social media rules, platforms will be required to disclose the first originator of a mischievous tweet or message which could be in relation to the sovereignty of India, the security of the state, relations with foreign states, rape, etc. Moreover, in a move that caused a stir, the government ordered that social media platforms would be bound under the law to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours. Additionally, they had to set up a complaint redressal mechanism with an officer being based in the country to resolve the matter.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to be banned in India’

The Ministry of Electronics and IT required all social media giants to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person and a resident grievance officer (employees residing in India) within three months from the order. Apart from homegrown Koo App, no other social media complied with the rules, which has led to questions on whether there will be a ban on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, top social media platforms that have failed to meet the 3-month deadline

Government sources have further revealed that social media platforms have taken to offering ‘standard responses’, such as seeking more time for furnishing compliance (up to 6 months in certain cases) while some claim that they can not take any action until they receive instructions from their company headquarters in the USA.

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