NEW DELHI (INDIA) – In a bid to tighten control over Big Tech firms, India has announced new rules on Thursday to regulate social media firms such as Facebook and Twitter.
The new rules will require big social media companies to set up a grievance redressal mechanism and appoint executives to coordinate with law enforcement, the government said in a news statement.
The move come after Twitter ignored orders to drop content on farmers’ protests, fuelling the goverment’s zeal, dating from 2018, to clamp down on material it regards as disinformation or unlawful.
The government said the guidelines were needed to hold social media and other companies accountable for misuse and abuse.
Social media firms should be “more responsible and accountable,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, the minister for information technology, told reporters in outlining the rules.
A detailed version of the guidelines is to be published later and will come into effect three months after that, the government said. It did not specify the date, however.
Prasad also told reporters that according to the new rules the companies will be obliged to reveal the originator of a message or posting when asked to do so through a legal order.
Tech firms are coming under tighter scrutiny worldwide. Facebook faced a global backlash last week from publishers and politicians after it blocked news feeds in Australia in a dispute with the government over revenue-sharing.
That prompted last-ditch changes by Australia in a law passed on Thursday to ensure Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc pay media companies for content, a step that nations such as Britain and Canada want to follow.
India’s rules will also require video streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime to classify content into five categories based on users’ age, the government said.