India Plans New Social Media Controls After Twitter Face-Off

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India Plans New Social Media Controls After Twitter Face-Off

After a dispute with Twitter, India has a plan to oblige social media companies to eliminate contentious content fast and assist investigations, according to a draft regulation.

New Delhi has planned "Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code" which is a copy of which was seen by Reuters and it is launched when many nations around the world try to apply tighter control over powerful Big Tech firms.

Last week, Facebook had to face a global backlash from publishers and politicians because of blocking news feeds in Australia in a dispute with the government over revenue-sharing.

In India, Twitter ignored orders to take down content over farmers' protests and then it promoted the zeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government since 2018 to tighten regulation for content that is considered disinformation or unlawful.

The latest draft rules which would be legally enforceable say that companies should take action of removing violated content as early as possible, but no later than 36 hours, after a government or legal order.

Furthermore, those companies must also assist in investigations or other cybersecurity-related incidents within 72 hours of a request. In addition, the rules stated that if a post depicts an individual in any sexual act or conduct, companies must disable or deleted such content within a day since receiving a complaint.

However, Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Twitter, which still did not disabled all accounts the government alleged were spreading lies about the protests over agricultural reforms, declined to comment.

RACIAL, RELIGIOUS CONTEXT

The draft proposal also requires the tech companies to appoint a chief compliance officer, another executive for coordinating on law enforcement, and a "grievance redressal officer".

According to industry sources, it is said that new regulations could damage Big Tech firms' investment plans in India and raise up compliance headaches. The draft proposal also said that rules would also apply across other digital and online media.

"A publisher shall take into consideration India's multi-racial and multi-religious context and exercise due caution and discretion when featuring the activities, beliefs, practices, or views of any racial or religious group," the draft rules said.

Moreover, the draft rules require a "classification rating" when referring to films and other entertainment, including web-based serials to describe the content and advise discretion.

Streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have received lots of complaints in India for obscenity.

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Police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh interrogated an Amazon executive for nearly four hours on Tuesday over allegations that a political drama, "Tandav", hurt religious sentiments and caused public anger.