IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said WhatsApp users have nothing to fear about new social media rules, that are designed to prewent abuse and misuse of platforms, and offer us- ers a robust forum for grievance redressal.
Prasad said that the government welcomes criticism including the right to ask questions. The rules only empower the ordinary users of social media when they become victims of abuse and misuse,Prasad posted on homegrown micro-blogging platform Koo, and also tweeted.
The government fully recognises and respects the right of privacy, he asserted. Ordinary users of WhatsAPP have nothing to fear about the new Rules. Its entire objective is to find out who started the message that led to commissioning of specific crimes mentioned in the Rules,Prasad added.
The new IT rules require the social media companies to set up an India-based grievance redressal officer compliance officer and nodal officer -“so that millions of users of social media who have a grievance get a forum for its redressal he said.
The obligation to reveal the originator of an offensive message already in circulation relates only to offences relating to sovereignty, integrity and security of India, public order, rape, and chi d sexual abuse. That too when other less Intrusive meas- ures are not effective, the Minister said.
The government on Wednesday had strongly de- fended its new digital rules, saying the requirement of messaging platforms like WhatsAPP to disclose origin of flagged messages does not violate privacy, and went on to seek a compliance report from large social media firms.
The new rules , announced on February 25, require large social media platforms defined as those with over 50 lakh users in the country, to follow additional due diligence, including appointment of chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer.
The new, tighter regulations for social media firms requires them to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours and setting up a strong complaint redressal mechanism with an officer be- ing based in the country.
As per data cited by the government, India has 53 crore WhatsApp users, 44.8 crore You Tube users, 41 crore Facebook subscribers, 21 crore Instagram users, while 1.75 crore account holders are on microblogging platform ‘Twitter.
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