The New IT Rules, 2021 for Social Media & OTT Platforms!

The New IT Rules, 2021 for Social Media & OTT Platforms!

The Centre Government on Thursday issued new guidelines for regulating Social Media, OTT platforms and Online News Platforms. The new guidelines are Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar and Ravi Shankar Prasad announced about these guidelines during a press conference. Prakash Javadekar said that govt. announced these rules to stop the misuse of social media and to stop the spread of fake news.

Basically, the content on social media platforms will fall under the purview of IT Ministry. And the content on OTT platforms will come under the purview of Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

So what are these rules and guidelines? What are the guidelines for the Online News Platforms? Let’s know about them all!

Guidelines for the Social Media Platforms –

While addressing media Ravi Shankar Prasad told that Social Media firms should be more “more responsible and accountable”. Following are the new guidelines for Social Media platforms-

  1. The social media firms having big user base will have to enable identification of first originator of information who is posting offensive content.
  2. The imprisonment for posting offensive content can be up to 5 years.
  3. The social media platforms will need to appoint a Chief Compliance Officer, a Nodal Contact Person and a Resident Grievance Officer within three months of the publishing these rules.
  4. Also, social media platforms should publish monthly reports showing the complaints received and actions taken on them.
  5. Significant social media platforms need to remove offensive content within 36 hours of receiving complaint.
  6. Also, they need to assist in probes other related incidents on their platforms within 72 hours of complaint.
  7. Social media platforms also need to publish these rules and guidelines issued by govt. on the their platforms for the access to users.
  8. Another things is, the platforms should provide option to users for their voluntary self verification.

Guidelines for OTT platforms –

The big OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube etc., need to comply with the guidelines establish by Centre.

The guidelines for OTT platforms-

  1. OTT content should be classify into 5 different categories which are -U, 7+, 13+, 16+, A. These categories should display while playing content.
  2. Parental locks and age verification should be applied as per content rating.
  3. For the governance of OTT Platforms, three level grievances redressal mechanism need to be establish. Which include (1) self-regulation by platform, (2) self-regulatory body and (3) oversight mechanism formulated by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

Rules for Online news channels on OTT platforms – The news channels on OTT platforms will also need to comply with the guidelines set by Press Council of India and the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act. This will bring them inline with print and TV news media. Accordingly it will help to check on fake news.

Reaction from Facebook and Twitter about new guidelines-

Facebook and twitter, the social media giants welcomed the new IT guidelines by the centre government. But also said that they need to study the full print of the guidelines.

A Twitter spokesman told Reuters that, “We believe that regulation is beneficial when it safeguards citizen’s fundamental rights and reinforces online freedoms.” Also, he told that company will study the guidelines.

Facebook representative told media that,  “regulations that set guidelines for addressing today’s toughest challenges on the internet.”

”The details of rules like these matter and we will carefully study (them)… Facebook is an ally for India and the agenda of user safety and security is a critical one for our platforms,” statement continued. He also added that, ”We will continue to work to ensure that our platforms play an enabling role in fueling the exciting digital transformation of India.”

Conclusion

The new IT Guidelines, 2021 will definitely help govt. to control the spread of fake news. But these rules will also help govt. to control the Social Media platforms in a way.

Since the guidelines have came, both supporters and non-supporters have shown their concern on social media platforms.

Thank you for reading!

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