The fate of Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp hang in a single thread as the new intercessor guidelines come into effect starting today. The Ministry of Electronics announced the new IT rules and given the social media platforms three months to comply with the new rules. However, none of these social media platforms complied with the new proposed IT law. This fiasco has created several questions if the Indian government will get out of the social media apps if they don’t accept the new rules or not.
The Indian government had not only set the rules for social media platforms but also for the OTT platforms, such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and others. Netflix has agreed to the new intermediary guidelines, whereas other companies still need to submit their agreement.
The Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad urged the companies to have a ‘soft-touch oversight mechanism‘ and have a ‘robust redressal of grievances.” During a press conference, Prasad said that social media platforms offer a voice to ordinary citizens.
What Are The New Rules?
The new IT rules say that case if Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp do not comply with the new guidelines then they might lose the protection that “intermediaries” get in under the IT Act. Now the question is what are the new rules and why are the social media platform companies taking so long to comply with them?
As per the new law, the tech companies are asked to appoint a chief compliance officer from India, who will be responsible to look after the demands of the government.
However, it is strictly against the WhatsApp has made to its users. The app is end-to-end encrypted which means not even the company can access the chats of the users, but this new law would mean breaking or circumventing end-to-end encryption on messages. Appointing officers seem easier than complying with a request like this. The government had said that it would help in stopping the spread of fake news through platforms like WhatsApp.