Social media content moderation by govt is legitimate scrutiny: Ajit Mohan

For social media platforms, the rules mandate identifying the source of mischievous posts, removing illegal content, and voluntary user verification mechanism, among others

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Mar 23, 2021 1:55 PM
Ajit Mohan

Facebook India MD Ajit Mohan has said that the Indian government’s decision to formulate content moderation rules for social media is legitimate scrutiny. He also said that the social media giant has tremendous respect for Indian laws.

The government had recently notified IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 which brings social media, digital news and video streaming platforms under the regulatory framework. For social media platforms, the rules mandate identifying the source of mischievous posts, removing illegal content, voluntary user verification mechanism, and three-tier grievance redressal mechanism among others.

“We are absolutely respectful of local laws. For me, it is not either-or. The fact that we respect local laws is a given, and is non-negotiable,” said Mohan, according to media reports. 

Mohan also said that Facebook and its group platforms WhatsApp and Instagram are looking to address concerns related to inflammatory and unlawful content.

“We are constantly trying to raise the bar in terms of making sure that we address the concerns, including those we have heard from governments from around the world and India, on the kind of content that is on our platforms. We want to limit and eliminate content linked to violence, or content linked to hate speech or content that calls for violence on the ground. Our agenda is aligned," he stated.

Striking the right balance between free speech and safety is an extremely complex issue, Mohan said. “Both are important agendas for a company like ours, and a country like ours. We want to make sure that the canvas of free speech is as expansive as possible, including what is outlined in the Indian constitution. At the same time, there will be places where there are limits to that speech, for example when it comes to hate speech.”

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