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New Social Media Rules Grievance Officer Mandatory

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 25, Feb 2021, 18:04 pm IST | UPDATED: 25, Feb 2021, 18:05 pm IST

New Social Media Rules Grievance Officer Mandatory

Delhi: The central government today announced new rules for social media and code of ethics for OTT & digital media. According to the new Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have to remove or disable contentious content within 36 hours of being notified or of a court order.

Addressing a press conference Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said concerns have been raised about rampant abuse of social media platforms and spread of fake news and the government is bringing in a "soft touch" regulation

As per the new rules, social media intermediaries have to appoint a resident grievance officer, who will register complaints within 24 hours. The grievance redressal official must be resident in India and monthly compliance reports will have to be submitted by social media platforms.

Social media platforms on being asked by court or government will be required to disclose the first originator of the mischievous information.

Union I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said the government has decided to implement a 3-tier mechanism for OTT platforms, news publishers and digital media. Level 1 entails self-regulation by publishers, wherein they should appoint a Grievance Redressal Officer based in India. Level 2 involves publishers having a self-regulating body, headed by a retired SC/HC judge or very eminent person. Level 3 involves an oversight mechanism that will be looked by the government.

SALIENT FEATURES OF THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (GUIDELINES FOR INTERMEDIARIES AND DIGITAL MEDIA ETHICS CODE) RULES, 2021

There should be a grievance redressal mechanism for every platform and the Resident Grievance Officer should be appointed within 24 hrs, grievance should be redressed in 15 days.

Provision to remove the post within 24 hrs of a complaint by a woman.

There should be chief compliance officer for every platform and the officer should be a resident of India

Each platform should have a nodal contact person, resident in India, for having 24/7 coordination with law enforcers.

The platforms will have to publish a monthly compliance report explaining what actions were taken and how many complaints were registered.

In case of any fake or mischievous content being spread on social media, the platforms will have to find out the first originator of the tweet or message and will have to disclose the identity of the person after an order from Court or government. If the tweet originated in India  them the platform will have to reveal the identity of the person who was the first to spread the fake news in India.

The OTT platforms would self-classify the content into five age-based categories- U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult). Platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age verification mechanisms for content classified as “A”.

The recent calls for OTT regulations came after controversies surrounding Tandav, Mirzapur 2, AK Vs AK, and A Suitable Boy, among others.

While Tandav and A Suitable Boy attracted the ire of some for allegedly hurting religious sentiments, the Indian Air Force was not too happy about Anil Kapoor wearing a wrong uniform and using abusive language in AK Vs AK.

The producer of Mirzapur 2 and streaming platform Amazon Prime is facing allegations that the web series hurts religious, social, and regional sentiments and damages social harmony.

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