India’s new IT rules had caused havoc in the internet based market, causing companies to evaluate their options over the last few months. The country had given a three month deadline to all companies to come in compliance with the new rules, something that no platform except Koo had done until yesterday. Now, as the deadline is over, all companies are finally catching on, starting with Facebook and now, Google. The search giant said that it aims to comply with the new rules set by the country’s IT ministry, including on all its platform (YouTube as well).
“We respect India’s legislative process and have a long history of responding to government requests to remove content where the content violates the local law or our product policies. We have consistently invested in significant product changes, resources, and personnel to ensure that we’re combating illegal content in an effective and fair way, and in order to comply with local laws in the jurisdictions that we operate in,” a Google spokesperson said on Tuesday.
This comes hours after Facebook made a similar announcement.
The new IT rules require companies to set up grievance redressal mechanisms, as well as comply with demands of data made by the government. Moreover, companies will also be expected to monitor and remove objectionable content and submit compliance reports.
The most significant change, however, is that social media platforms will lose their status of “social media intermediaries”, and might actually be held accountable for the content posted on their platforms. This means that if someone is unhappy with the content on one of these platforms, they can not only take the creator to court, but the company as well.
In US, Section 230 prevents this, and lawmakers have been trying to find alternatives for a long time now. However, scrapping the provision entirely can have serious affects, not just for these companies but for their users as well.
Nonetheless, with Facebook and Google finally accepting the new terms, the entire market will probably follow as well.
The government has now asked all social media companies if they have complied with the new rules, seeking an answer as soon as possible” and “preferably today”.
This shows that the government is ready to enforce the new rules, and is definitely not entertaining any ideas of an extension.
Thus, this may be the last chance for a lot of companies to comply with the new rules, or they might stand to lose their position in the Indian market.