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Govt asks large social media cos to report status of compliance with new IT rules immediately

The new rules require large social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer. The new rules require large social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer.
The new rules require large social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer. (REUTERS)

In a note to 'significant social media intermediaries', the IT Ministry said the additional due diligence required from such large digital platforms has come into effect from Wednesday.

The government on Wednesday asked large social media platforms to immediately report their status of compliance with the new digital rules. In a note to 'significant social media intermediaries', the IT Ministry said the additional due diligence required from such large digital platforms has come into effect from Wednesday. The ministry has sought details and contact information of Chief Compliance Officer, Resident Grievance Officer and Nodal Contact Person who have been appointed by digital platforms under the new social media rules, as per the note seen by PTI.

"As you including your parent company or any other subsidiary, provide a variety of services in India some of which falls within the definition of SSMIs (significant social media intermediaries) in the context of the IT Act and the aforesaid Rules. Accordingly, as part of ascertaining the compliance to these Rules, you are requested to provide the following information...," the ministry said.

Apart from details such as name of the app, website and service falling within the scope of significant social media intermediary, the ministry has sought details of the three key personnel, as well as the physical contact address of the platform in India. It has asked the platforms to report on their status of compliance with the new rules.

"If you are not considered as SSMI, please provide the reasons for the same including the registered users on each of the services provided by you. The Government reserves the right to seek any additional information, as may be permitted within these Rules and the IT Act," it said. The ministry has asked large social media companies to confirm and share their response at the earliest "and preferably today itself".

The new rules require large social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer.

Non-compliance with rules would result in these social media companies losing their intermediary status that provides them exemptions and certain immunity from liabilities for any third-party information and data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.

The new rules require them to take down any content flagged by the authorities within 36 hours and set up a robust mechanism to respond to complaints.

The new IT rules also require significant social media intermediaries -- providing services primarily in the nature of messaging -- to enable identification of the "first originator" of information that undermines the sovereignty of India, security of the state, or public order. 

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