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Evolving Social Media Rules in India: Here’s All You Need to Know!

The ministry of electronics and information technology has published a fresh draft of amendments to the information technology rules, 2021 which proposes the creation of a government-appointed appeal committee that will be able to make content moderation decisions taken by the social media intermediaries like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

The Madras High Court recently observed that the social media intermediaries operating in India are governed by the acts and rules of the land. They have to maintain the videos in accordance with the policies and guidelines. If these videos are found to be a violation they have a duty to block such channels without filing FIRs or any court orders. If the social intermediaries block such channels as per their agreement on violation of the above condition and it is not even blocked or removed after it was brought to the intermediaries’ knowledge then the social media intermediaries such as Facebook, Twitter etc are committing the offence under section 69A(3) of the Information technology act. 

For a brief idea about the New Draft on Social Media, we have taken the view of Supreme Court Advocate and a Cyber law expert Pavan Duggal to enlighten us with some views of him to help us to understand more about the New Draft Regulation of Social Media in India.

 “The government is making such amendments for the benefit of our users of social media. The rules are not to make any difference between the private sector and the government because of the time period that is imposed on the private sector to give an immediate response to the defamatory statement which is reduced from 15 days to 3 days or 72 hours which is not illegal or to impose burden because 72 hours is a sufficient time to make a decision on the defamatory statement. The government approach is on the right path and the commitment by the government is to be the most transparent and administrative justice remedy.” 

As it is seen that due to new regulations the servers are shutting down for the Indian user but in view of this lots of social media doesn’t use virtual media servers which will minimally affect the revenue of India. Using Virtual Private Network is not a conditional way of accessing the social media platforms because these two rules are not contradicting each other. The regulation of IT rules, 2022 is much broader, helpful and safe for all the users of India and much more due diligence is to be followed by the Social intermediaries. 

A case was a petition for the cancellation of bail granted to Youtuber Duraimurugan Pandiyan for making false or harsh statements against the chief minister of Tamil Nadu through his youtube channel. The Petitioner is the State which contended that Duraimurugan violated the terms of his bail and continued to make such false statements on youtube. The State also informed the court that Duraimurugan was constantly engaged in spreading false information or statements on social media. 

On the other side, Duraimurugan informed the court that he is not only the one who is spreading or doing such things on social media, there are several people who were promoting such kinds of activities and were getting income from Youtube which encourages such defamatory videos as it earned more views. 

The court observed that even though they were provided under the Information Technology act, 2000 and rules which are not followed by the authorities cybercrime has increased. The court was also informed that the cybercrime wings are facing certain difficulties. The intermediaries like Facebook, Twitter, and youtube block content only temporarily and insist the court give the order for permanent blocking.  So, the court in view of this problem informed the social media intermediaries and formulated community guidelines for its user. Thus if any person finds making such a violation then the first warning should be issued by the social media intermediaries to that user and then terminate that account. So, in the present case of Duraimurugan bail has been cancelled because the court finds that he keeps on making such a violation despite giving him a warning and directing the investigation necessary to take necessary steps against him. 

Vanshika Jaiswal
Vanshika Jaiswal
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