Thursday, December 2, 2021

Facebook, WhatsApp, Google Comply with New IT Rules, Twitter Remains Obstinate: Report

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In a major twist, a number of major social media platforms and messaging apps have agreed to comply fully or partially with the new IT rules introduced by the Indian government, these include the likes of Facebook, Google, Koo, Sharechat, Telegram, and WhatsApp

According to a report by PTI, Whatsapp and Facebook are updating their websites to reflect the appointment of the grievance officers under the new social media rules that came into effect on 26 May.

The report cited government sources, which claim that large social media companies have shared details with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) as per the requirement of the new digital rules, but Twitter is still not following the norms.

According to the latest digital rules, a grievance officer, nodal officer, and a chief compliance officer will need to be appointed by companies with over 50 lakh users. These personnel are required to be residing in India.

The report cites industry sources that claim Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and its messaging platform WhatsApp have already shared their compliance report with the MeitY, and that the details of the new grievance officers appointed are being updated to replace the existing information on these platforms.

Currently, Alphabet Inc.’s Google’s ‘Contact Us’ page shows details of Joe Grier as a contact person with an address from Mountain View, US.

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According to LiveMint, the rules state that “all intermediaries have to prominently publish on their website, app or both, the name of the grievance officer and his/her contact details as well as the mechanism by which a user or a victim may make a complaint.”

The complaint needs to be acknowledged within 24 hours and disposed of within a period of 15 days from the date of its receipt by the grievance officer.

According to the report, Twitter’s website mentions Dharmendra Chatur as the ‘Resident Grievance Officer for India (Interim)’ but the social media giant has not sent details of the chief compliance officer to the MeitY, and shared details of a lawyer working in a law firm as a nodal contact person and grievance officer.

Telegram and LinkedIn have begun compliance with the new laws while Koo and Sharechat have also shared the required details with the MeitY

The Indian government has said the new rules are designed and put into effect to prevent abuse and misuse of platforms and offer users a robust forum for grievance redressal.

“Non-compliance with the rules would result in these platforms losing the intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.”


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