As the deadline of 25th May kicked in for the new IT rules for social media companies took effect, Facebook and Google on Tuesday said they are working towards meeting the compliance requirements set by the Right Wing Government run my PM Narendra Modi. The new rules, announced on February 25, require large social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer.
As per the government, significant social media intermediaries, those with over 50 lakh registered users, were given three months to comply with the additional requirements.
Modi government is reeling under major criticism regarding the Farm Laws and the gross mishandling of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government had asked the social media giants to delete and block certain content and users criticising the Modi government.
Twitter has not so far announced its compliance status. The offices of Twitter India was raided by the Delhi Police, controlled by India’s central government, on 25th May under the pretext of seeking more information about Twitter’s rationale to label one of the tweets by ruling partly BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra as manipulated media. “Delhi Police is enquiring into a complaint in which clarification is sought from Twitter regarding the classification of a tweet by Shri Sambit Patra (BJP spokesman) as ‘manipulative’. It appears that Twitter has some information which is not known to us on the basis of which they have classified it as such,” Delhi Police said in an earlier statement. FIR has been lodged against Sambit Patra in the state of Uttrakhand where Modi government has less influence as it is ruled by the the Indian National Congress. Earlier, Sambit Patra had been asked to leave a show on NDTV resulting in raids by some departments headed by the Modi Government.
Twitter has been more aggressive in weeding out contentious content, but it hurts Modi government more than the rest of India. Most users heaved a sign of relief after Twitter had blocked actress Kangana Ranaut’s handle permanently as she violated twitter’s rules. Kangana Ranaut’s pro Modi Government and RSS brand Hindutva tweets have been dominating Twitter trends propelled by right wing Twitter users.
Unlike Facebook and Google, Twitter has not made much investment in the country other than establishing its own offices and ShareChat which claims to be the Indian rival of WhatsApp.
In Russia, the Vladimir Putin led government has threatened to slow down Google and Twitter for not complying with its requirements.