A new set of government guidelines for large social media companies will come into effect from May 26, failure to comply with which may result in those firms losing their status as an internet intermediary. 

The new rules were announced by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in February as part of the IT Act, with social media companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, given a three-month deadline to comply. 

Here is all we know about the matter so far:

1. The new rules came in the form of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, under the IT Act, 2000 on February 25. 

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2. The government has set 50 lakh registered users as a threshold for defining ‘significant social media intermediary’. 

3. They require large social media companies to follow additional due diligence, like appointing a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer. 

4. The rules also require paltforms to remove content flagged by authorities within 36 hours, as well as publish a monthly compliance report. 

5. The loss of intermediary status would mean every user post on these platforms will be treated as posted by the companies themselves. This will make them criminally liable for illegal content.  

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6. Koo, the homegrown substitute for Twitter which has around 6 million registered users, said last week it had complied with the new regulations. No other major player has completed compliance so far.  

7. WhatsApp had earlier said users who do not accept their privacy terms can continue to use their services unrestricted. 

8. Twitter said they have their own fact-checking teams. The firm has not revealed how it investigates facts. Twitter is currently facing other issues with the government, with the Delhi Police conducting searches at its offices in Delhi and Gurgaon over its marking of tweets by BJP leaders as ‘manipulated media’. 

9. Facebook said on Tuesday that it aims to comply with the new regulations, adding they will continue to discuss issues which need more engagement with the government. 

10. According to reports, the companies are seeking a six-month period to comply with the new rules.