Google, FB, WA comply with intermediary guidelines while Twitter still non-compliant

The microblogging platform has not sent details of the compliance officer to the IT ministry and named a lawyer as grievance officer

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: May 31, 2021 7:13 AM
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Google, Facebook, and WhatsApp have started complying with the intermediary rules while Twitter is yet to comply with the new guidelines that came into force on 26th May. Barring Twitter, Google, Facebook, and WhatsApp have also shared compliance reports with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

According to PTI, Google, Facebook, and WhatsApp have shared details with the IT ministry as per the requirement of the government's new social media rules. Twitter has not sent details of the compliance officer to the IT ministry and named a lawyer as grievance officer.

On 26th May, the union government had requested all significant social media intermediaries to share details of compliance with the new “the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021”.

The significant social media intermediaries had to provide the name of App./ Website/ service falling within the scope of significant social media intermediary and the details of Chief Compliance Officer and the contact details, Nodal Contact Person and the contact details, Resident Grievance Officer and the contact details, The physical contact address in India, and the Compliance status of these Rules. 

The Government of India had notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 on 25th February 2021 under the provisions of Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000. These Rules supersede the erstwhile notified Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011.
Both Google and Facebook had said that they will comply with the new guidelines.

“We respect India’s legislative process and have a long history of responding to government requests to remove content where the content violates the local law or our product policies. We have consistently invested in significant product changes, resources, and personnel to ensure that we’re combating illegal content in an effective and fair way, and in order to comply with local laws in the jurisdictions that we operate in. We realize that our work in keeping our platforms secure is never done and we will continue to refine our existing approaches, and evolve our policies and be as transparent as possible about how we make decisions," Google India said in a statement.

Facebook today said that it is working to implement operational processes and aims to comply with the provisions of the IT rules. In a statement on Tuesday, a Facebook spokesperson said: "We aim to comply with the provisions of the IT rules and continue to discuss a few of the issues which need more engagement with the government. Pursuant to the IT rules, we are working to implement operational processes and improve efficiencies."

WhatsApp has challenged the guidelines in the Delhi High Court contended that provision for “identification of the first originator of the information” will infringe on use privacy.

“Requiring messaging apps to ‘trace’ chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said. “We have consistently joined civil society and experts around the world in opposing requirements that would violate the privacy of our users. In the meantime, we will also continue to engage with the Government of India on practical solutions aimed at keeping people safe, including responding to valid legal requests for the information available to us,” WhatsApp spokesperson had said.

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