The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had issued new guidelines for social media companies, Over the Top (OTT) platforms, and digital media publishers, as well as a three-tier grievance redressal framework, on February 25, 2021. The ministry gave social media platforms a three-month window to comply with the new guidelines at the time of the announcement. The deadline is Tuesday, May 25, 2021.

Except for Koo, no other platform has yet complied with the new guidelines. If social media giants, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, do not comply with the deadline, the government may take criminal action against them.

What is the new rule all about?

The rules include the appointment of India-based compliance officials, giving their name and contact address in India, complaint resolution, monitoring of objectionable content, compliance report, and removal of objectionable content

The oversight mechanism will be comprised of a committee comprised of representatives from the ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home, I&B, Law, IT, and Women and Child Development, according to the new laws. It will have “suo moto powers” to call hearings on complaints of Code of Ethics violations if it so desires.

The government will also appoint an officer with the rank of Joint Secretary or higher as the “Authorised Officer” who will be able to direct content blocking. If an appellate body believes that the content violates the law, it has the authority to refer the matter to a government-controlled committee for the issuance of blocking orders.

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