On 25 February 2021, guidelines for social media companies and digital media publishers were issued by the Ministry of Electronics & IT. The ministry also gave a three-month window to social media platforms for complying with the new guidelines. The deadline to comply with guidelines will end on Tuesday, 25 May 2021.
In case, if social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc. will not comply with issued guidelines by the end of the deadline, then the government is free to take criminal action against the violation.
With the new code of digital ethics, the government is trying to get the aim to establish a “level-playing field, a soft touch progressive institutional mechanism”. Union IT and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that the guidelines for ethics code for digital media and intermediaries are designed to curb misuse of social media platforms and streaming services. It will help to disclose the first originator of mischievous information (like content depicting nudity or women’s morphed) and will be helpful in removing it, within 24 hours.
1. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. need to establish a grievance redressal mechanism and a grievance officer as the concerned person who must register the grievance within 24 hours and will redress it in 15 days.
2. In case of having a complaint against a user’s dignity, particularly of women (exposure of private parts, impersonation, nudity, or sexual act, etc.), the social media platforms will have to remove or delete such material as soon as possible or within 24 hours after the complaint is made.
Additionally, the Central Government also says that it will create a ‘Grievance Portal’ on which any person having a complaint regarding OTT platform or digital media can come and register the complaint. The complaint will first be forwarded to the concerned entity by the Centre. In case the complainant is dissatisfied by the response of the Grievance Redressal Officer, then they can appeal it again to the self-regulating body. If required, further appeals may be made to the central government.
New digital ethics guidelines come up with some changes that affect the end-user. These are as follows: