It's time to focus on the burning topic of the government wanting to regulate social media platforms. There is a lot of discussion going over it. Let's get started and dive deeper into the complete story. Keep reading till the end and don’t skip anything!
INTRODUCTION to SOCIAL MEDIA BAN
The mania started in January when Twitter and other social media platforms were flooding up with fake news and rumours. It was then that the government thought things were getting way out of hand and decided that it is necessary to regulate social media as well as OTT platforms. Let us save the discussion on OTT platforms for another day.
HOW IT STARTED?
We all are well acquainted with the widespread plethora of fake news provided by our very own Whatsapp University. Even twitter is flooded with controversy and rumours. There's also the issue of use of end-to-end encryption by terrorists and other negative forces. In order to curb all these issues that we're currently crippled with, the government came up with a new set of IT rules on 25th February 2021 keeping their and the user's benefit in mind.
GOVERMENT'S NEW IT RULES
The government gave the companies a 3 month deadline to comply with the new regulations, i.e. by 25th May 2021. Which was just a few days ago. Let's look in detail about the new rules.
According to the rule, every company has to appoint 3 officers which are as follows:
- Chief Compliance Officer: The main job of this officer is to answer the government and the people and everyone worldwide. In other words, a representative to communicate regarding everything.
- Nodal Officer: The main job of this officer is to work with the government on how to regulate social media platforms.
- Grievance Officer: The main job of him is to listen to the complaints of the users and respond to them. The internet is an open place and everyone has the liberty to post anything they want. However, if someone has a problem, they can complain or talk to the grievance officer regarding it.
WHY COMPANIES DON'T WANT TO COMPLY
Now, The only app or company to follow the rules is Koo App. It is a Indian replacement for Twitter. Some others are government sites like mygov.in etc. This concept has been brought up from the same government sites. So you might be wondering why didn’t the companies comply with them? Here are some of the reasons as stated by them:
- The time period of 3 months is very less. They need at least 6 months in order to implement the same.
- Decision needs to be made with the US headquarters which takes time and proper planning and needs a better solution.
- Implementation of the rules is difficult. Eg. The compliance officer has to answer everyone. In case anything happens, the entire liability falls on the chief compliance officer. Thus, it is not possible to appoint a compliance officer. Whereas for nodal officers, indirectly the government will get all the power. They can even delete or access any of your posts and delete them or regulate it.
CAVEATS IN NEW IT RULES
For eg: All of your chats are encrypted and the government might make them stop the encryption process. This is because the government wants to back track the fake whatsapp forwarded messages and find the original sender of the message. Even Whatsapp doesn’t know the origin of the message. And thus in order to do this, the encryption would go away which is definitely not a good thing for privacy. The government and Whatsapp would know what was your message, to whom and when it was sent and so on. Due to this several companies have neglected this and some are thinking on its implementation with discussion.
It is not just about big companies like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter. It implies everything where users can interact with each other like website comments and so on. It is very difficult to implement.
In order to protect the privacy of the users, just today as I’m recording this WhatsApp has filed a case in Delhi Court against the government for challenging these new IT rules.
If banned, the company does have legal recourse to go in the court for the same. And I don’t think this would be possible. It is not like banning chinese apps like we did in the past. These apps are based on from companies in the US and the apps which are used by everyone including the government officials for communicating. So, BAN won’t be an option or action anytime soon.
Even now there are no proper guidelines available from the government. What I think is that, some of the things in the rules are good. It enables some power in the hands of the user and can complain for any wrong activities. But taking it over to breaking the end-to-end encryption and allowing the government to oversee any data at their wish is not as it should be. This is exactly how the Chinese government functions, as an autocrat and we definitely don't want that.
What India actually needs is something like GDPR with other tweaks according to the Indian environment. Something that maintains the privacy of the users and solves the fake news concerns which the government has. Also, enough time should be given to the respective companies.
NO BAN YET ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, WHATSAPP, INSTAGRAM
Till then don’t worry about this. These apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are huge which are not going anytime soon. And they are owned by the US. Banning them would means difficulties in ties with the US. It won’t be banned anytime soon as it is used by everyone from common people to celebrities. They would be improved more with regards to privacy and solving government concerns on a common ground without taking away privacy.
That’s it. I hope you found this article informative. Please make sure to share this article with your friends and family as well so that they know the complete story behind this. Also, comment below on what is your opinion regarding this whole story. Thank you for reading.