New Delhi: On February 25, the Government of India took a revolutionary decision regarding the misuse of social media and online streaming platforms. It asked tech majors such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to take certain steps to regulate their content. However, even three months later as the deadline nears, the companies seem to have failed to comply with the government’s directions.

Zee News Anchor Aditi Tyagi on Monday (May 24) explained the government’s order regarding social media content regulation and how the foreign tech firms have defied the order.

When the East India Company came to India in the 17th century, it did not enslave our country instantly. Rather, this company strengthened itself in India for 100 years and after the Battle of Plassey in the year 1757, made India a slave.

Today 264 years have passed since this war, but like the East India Company, many big technology companies of the world are seeking to do something similar.

Three months ago, the Government of India issued directions to check the misuse of social media and online streaming platforms that glamorize abuses.

Under this decision, the government had drawn a boundary line between every information, entertainment and news reaching you through the Internet. It was the Lakshman Rekha of the Internet era, which was created to clarify the difference between right and wrong.

The social media firms were given three months to execute these instructions. The deadline ends tomorrow. But according to the information we have received, none of these companies followed the instructions of the government.

The government had instructed the companies to create a system to listen to the grievances of the people on social media. Under this, these companies were asked to appoint three officers.

The first officer was the Chief Compliance Officer, who would ensure that the complaints of the people were addressed under the law. No company has done this except Koo.

Apart from this, a Nodal Contact Officer was also to be appointed, who would be in touch with the investigating agencies and ministries of India. No appointment has been done for this.

The government had also said that these companies would have to appoint a Grievance Officer, who would take steps within 24 hours on the complaints of their users and redress the complaint within 15 days. This order was also not complied with.

The companies were directed to make a monthly report, under which these companies would tell the government how many complaints they received in the month and what action was taken on them. But even after 90 days, nothing happened on this either.

The government had further said that all technology companies including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter must ensure that no information, photos and videos of their users are misused. If objectionable pictures of a person are shared or nudity is promoted, then such post will now have to be removed within 24 hours and the account of the person sharing such photos will have to be closed.

According to the government, within 90 days, these companies had to prepare a system for such action, but it did not happen.

The government had said that if these companies delete a post or picture made by a user, then they have to give the concrete reason to that user and they will be given full opportunity to clarify. For this also, these companies had to make a system in 3 months but they did not take any step.

The question is that when the government gave these companies three months, why did they not comply with the orders. Have these technology companies become bigger than the government?

In such a situation,  the government can take strong steps against these companies.

The protection that these companies get under section 79 of the IT Act 2000 can be ended.

Section 79 of the IT Act 2000 ensures that these companies will not be responsible if any person shares illegal information on the social media platforms of these companies.

However, in the guidelines given by the government on February 25, it was said that if these companies do not remove any content after the order of the court and the government, then under Section 79, this right will be taken away from them.

In India, WhatsApp has 53 crore users, Youtube 44 crores 80 lakhs, Facebook 41 crores, Instagram 21 crores and Twitter 1 crores 75 lakh users. In this situation, these developments are crucial for everyone. People must realize what is happening around them and understand the true nature of these companies.

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