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Social Media Platforms Need to Comply New Digital Ethics Code As Soon As Possible
Latest Updates MilkywayBlogs 25-Jun-2021 Comments (5) 27

Social Media Platforms Need to Comply New Digital Ethics Code As Soon As Possible

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.

Guidelines Included

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.

Guidelines for Social Media Platforms
  • Upon being asked either by the court or by the government, social media platforms will be required to disclose the originator of the mischievous tweet/ message.
  • The social media platforms must have a provision for voluntary verification of users.
Significant Intermediaries Guidelines
  • Appoint a chief compliance officer (resident of India) who will be responsible for ensuring the compliance of the acts and rules.
  • Appoint a nodal contact person (resident of India) for having 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies.
  • Appoint a resident grievance officer who will perform the grievance redressal mechanism. These intermediaries are required to deliver a monthly compliance report on the number of grievances filed, and if/how they were redressed.
Guidelines for OTT Platform
  • OTT and Digital news media have to disclose details about where and how they publish content.
  • Grievance redressal system for Digital and OTT platforms.
  • Self-regulatory body headed by a retired SC or HC judge.

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.

How Does the New Digital Ethics Code Affect Users?

New digital ethics guidelines come up with some changes that affect the end-user. These are as follows:

  • Social media platforms offering messaging or texting services such as WhatsApp and Facebook and other messengers will have to enable the traceability feature for the originator of messages. It could undermine the end-to-end encryption sender and receiver. It should be noted that the rule does not require the content of messages to be disclosed, but the tracking information related to the first originator that sends the message could affect this user’s privacy.
  • Social media platforms offering messaging or texting services such as WhatsApp and Facebook and other messengers will have to enable the traceability feature for the originator of messages. It could undermine the end-to-end encryption sender and receiver. It should be noted that the rule does not require the content of messages to be disclosed, but the tracking information related to the first originator that sends the message could affect this user’s privacy.

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