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India puts social media companies on a short leash

India puts social media companies on a short leash
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Written by Harry Johnson

Indian government announces new draconian rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies operating in the country

  • India now requires social media companies to remove content within 24 hours of a complaint being filed
  • New regulations were brought forward by the government following last month’s violence at New Delhi’s Red Fort, when farmers protested agricultural reforms in the country.
  • Digital social media services will also be legally obliged to provide information to the Indian court system or the country’s government

Government authorities in India introduced new rules regulating the social media giants’ business activities. The move is a part of the government’s campaign to tackle the “double standards” of these companies in removing content.

New regulations will come in effect in three months. and will impact social media companies, streaming services and online news sites, requiring them to remove content within 24 hours of a complaint being filed.

Digital social media services will also be legally obliged to provide information to the Indian court system or the country’s government outlining the origin of tweets that are deemed “mischievous” if asked.

Alongside the changes they will have to make to their internal policies, social media companies operating in India will now be required to appoint a chief compliance officer and a grievance redressal officer who will be based there to handle complaints raised within the country.

The legislation was brought forward by Indian government after the last month’s violence at New Delhi’s Red Fort, when farmers protested agricultural reforms in the country.

While Twitter initially complied with government requests to remove users and tweets that mentioned the demonstrations, they later backtracked and reinstated the accounts.

This reversal sparked condemnation from the country’s information technology minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, who accused Twitter of “double standards” and compared the company’s response to content from the attack on the US Capitol two weeks before Indian police and farmers clashed at the Red Fort in New Delhi. 

Facebook and Twitter have not commented on the new legislation or indicated whether they will be willing to comply with the requirements.