Facebook today said it “aims to comply” with the government’s new rules to regulate content but indicated that it wants to discuss “issues which need more engagement”. Centre’s deadline for compliance with the new rules featuring a code of ethics and a three-tier grievance redressal framework ends today.
“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,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
“Pursuant to the IT Rules, we are working to implement operational processes and improve efficiencies. Facebook remains committed to people’s ability to freely and safely express themselves on our platform,” added the statement.
So far, social media giants — Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – have not complied with the new rules, according to government sources.
The rules for news sites and OTT platforms were announced in February and sites were given three months to comply. Sources said if the companies fail to follow the rules, they could be blocked or could face criminal action.
“Though they claim the protection of being an intermediary but they exercise their discretion to also modify and adjudicate upon the content through their own norms without any reference to Indian Constitution and laws,” sources said on Monday.
The sites are required to appoint India-based compliance officials, give their name and contact address in India, have a mechanism for complaint resolution and monitoring of objectionable content, submit compliance reports and remove objectionable content.
An oversight mechanism in the new rules will include a committee with representatives from ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home, Information and Broadcasting, Law, IT and Women and Child Development.
The government will also designate an officer of the rank of a Joint Secretary or above as the “Authorised Officer” who can direct blocking of content.
The government had said its aim was to establish what it called a “soft touch progressive institutional mechanism with a level-playing field”.
Notifying the rules on February 25, the Electronics and Information Technology ministry had given a three-month deadline to social media platforms to comply.
Sources say only one company has appointed compliance officials and some platforms have asked for a six-month deadline, saying they were waiting for instructions from their headquarters in the US.