The government is finalizing new IT rules for social media companies that would mandate traceability of originator of information on such platforms and removal of malicious content within 24 hours of notice, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
The proposed new norms include the deployment of technology-based automated tools or appropriate mechanisms for proactively identifying and removing or disabling public access to unlawful information or content, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Sanjay Dhotre said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
In December last year, the information technology ministry had sought public feedback on amendments to IT Rules for social media platforms and messaging apps in a bid to curb misuse of such platforms for spreading fake news. "MeitY received 171 comments and 80 counter comments from individuals, civil society, industry associations, and organizations. The comments so received have been analyzed and the Rules are being finalized," Dhotre said.
The proposal also suggests that social media platforms will have to bring in the traceability of the originator of the information, and remove malicious content in 24 hours upon receiving a court order or when notified by appropriate government authorities, he added.
Messaging giant WhatsApp has, in the past, drawn flak from the government on the issue of message traceability. The government has been asking the Facebook-owned company to find ways to identify originators of rogue messages but the US-based firm has resisted the demand citing privacy concerns.
Significant intermediaries with over 50 lakh users will have to set up an office in India and appoint a nodal officer for liaisoning with law enforcement agencies, according to the proposed changes. Such platforms will also have to deploy technology-based automated tools or appropriate mechanisms for proactively identifying and removing or disabling public access to unlawful information or content, Dhotre said.