The new IT rules have been a source of contention between major social media intermediaries (namely, Twitter) and the ruling BJP government. The biggest bone of contention is social media platforms losing their immunity, thus becoming vulnerable to lawsuits over content posted on its platform. Recently, WhatsApp had taken to court to challenge certain provisions of the IT rules, saying that the mandate of compulsory traceability of messaging was “unlawful.”
This time around though, it is the newly minted trillionaire Facebook, which has shown its support for the IT rules, saying that they made sense while empowering customers and limiting their abuse on social media, according to India MD Ajit Mohan.
Abuse and trolls on social media are nothing new, and both common users and celebrities have fallen prey to it from time to time. It is one of the reasons social media is branded as “toxic,” and has been the reason for the exit of many a person from social media.
Facebook had earlier said that the Centre’s move to draft the IT rules to formulate coverage and guidelines around the moderation of content on social media platforms was professional scrutiny, and that respect for Indian legal guidelines was “non-negotiable.” The IT rules went effective from May 26, three months after social media intermediaries were given the time to comply with them. Twitter had complied with the rules after the deadline had passed.
Mohan added, “The (Indian) authorities desire to restrict the misuse and abuse of social media platforms by dangerous actors, and that’s an agenda that we’re fully aligned with.” It is similar to IT and Legislation Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s view who said that the IT rules empowered users on social media after they grew to be victims of misuse and abuse.
According to Facebook, the agenda of online security and safety was an important one, especially in one of its largest markets. The company felt that it made sense to have a framework for accountability and drafting rules for malicious content.
The giant has already taken steps in recent times to make Facebook a safer place and provide ample security, both by formulating new guidelines and policies and by investing in automation and machine learning systems.
Under the IT rules, Facebook is due to publish reports, as mandated by the new Information Technology Rules, providing information about the actions they took on user complaints in India. Facebook said that it will publish an interim report on July 2.