Published On : Sat, Jul 3rd, 2021

IT minister praises FB, Google for compliance report

Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday lauded significant social media platforms such as Google, Facebook and Instagram for publishing their first compliance report on voluntary removal of offensive posts as per new IT rules, terming it a big step towards transparency.

Under the new IT rules, large digital platforms that have over 5 million users are required to publish periodic compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken thereon.

“Nice to see significant social media platforms like Google, Facebook and Instagram following the new IT Rules. First compliance report on voluntary removal of offensive posts published by them as per IT Rules is a big step towards transparency,” Prasad tweeted.

The publishing of compliance reports by Google, Facebook and Instagram is bound to turn up the heat on Twitter, which has been engaged in a tussle with the Indian government over the new social media rules.

The government has confronted Twitter for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country’s new IT rules, and not appointing the requisite officers, leading to it losing the ‘safe harbour’ immunity.

Facebook on Friday said it “actioned” over 30 million content pieces across 10 violation categories during May 15-June 15 in the country, as the social media giant brought out its maiden monthly compliance report as mandated by the IT rules.

Instagram took action against about two million pieces across nine categories during the same period.

‘Actioned’ content refers to the number of pieces of content (such as posts, photos, videos or comments) where action has been taken for violation of standards. Taking action could include removing a piece of content from Facebook or Instagram or covering photos or videos that may be disturbing to some audiences with a warning.

Google had stated that 27,762 complaints were received by Google and YouTube in April this year from individual users in India over alleged violation of local laws or personal rights, which resulted in removal of 59,350 pieces of content.

Koo, in its report, said it has proactively moderated 54,235 content pieces, while 5,502 posts were reported by its users during June.

Apart from publishing periodic compliance reports every month, the rules also require disclosure on the number of specific communication links or parts of information that the intermediary has removed or disabled access to in pursuance of any proactive monitoring conducted by using automated tools.

According to the IT rules that aim to curb blatant abuse and misuse of platforms, the significant social media intermediaries are required to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal officer and a grievance officer and these officials have to be resident in India.

Non-compliance with the IT rules would result in these platforms losing their intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them.

Facebook recently named Spoorthi Priya as its grievance officer in India.