The Government of India, on February 25, announced the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The new rules will require social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram among others – to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer. The new IT rules that come into effect from May 26 are aimed at making the social media platforms more accountable and responsible for the content hosted on their platform.

Here are the other points that the new IT rules require the social media platform to follow:

– The appointment of the grievance officer would be a key requirement from day one of rules coming into effect.

– If the social media platforms fail to comply with the rules, social media firms may lose the intermediary status that provides them exemptions from liabilities for any third-party information and data hosted by them.

– The rules will require the platforms to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours and setting up a robust complaint redressal mechanism with an officer being based in the country.

– Big social media companies will have to publish a monthly compliance report that will have the details of the received complaints and action is taken. They will also be required to have a physical contact address in India published on its website or mobile app, or both.

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– The social media firms will have to take down posts that has nudity or morphed photos within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.

– The rules will require them to enable identification of the first originator of the information that undermines the sovereignty of India, security of the state, or public order.

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– The intermediary, however, will not be required to disclose the contents of any message. The rules also state that users who voluntarily want to verify their accounts should be given an appropriate mechanism to do so.

– Users will have to be provided with a prior intimation and explanation when a significant social media intermediary removes content on its own.