The biggest benefit of the new guidelines released for digital media is going to get users whose complaints against social media or OTT were not heard till now. Most of the natives have been tightened up on big social media companies. They have got three months to implement the guideline. However, the government avoided answering the question as to who would be jailed in cases of serious objectionable content. User or social media?
We know in a systematic way why this guideline was needed, what is it for users and companies and what is the government going to do …
The case started in 2018, when the Supreme Court asked to make guidelines, the
case started on 11 December 2018, when the Supreme Court asked the government to remove the content related to child pornography, rape, gang rape from digital platforms. Create a guideline. The government prepared the draft on 24 December 2018. 177 comments came on it.
Guideline issue heats up most after farmer movement
Debate had been going on for a long time in social media over the use of freedom of expression versus wrong usage. The turning point in this case came from the time of the peasant movement. On 26 January, when violence took place on the Red Fort, the government took strict action against the social media companies.
The government said social media supports police action if there is an attack on Capitol Hill in the US. If the Red Fort is attacked in India, you adopt a double standard. This is not clear to us.
The OTT or over the top platforms are also facing allegations of obscenity. This time in Parliament session 50 questions were asked on behalf of MPs regarding OTT. OTT platforms have grown rapidly in the country for the last 3 years. It grew the most by 30% between March and July last year. There were 22.2 million OTT users in March 2020, which increased to 29 million in July 2020. There are currently 40 large OTT platforms in the country.
4 types of platforms will come
under the guideline The government has used four words in the guideline. First – Intermediaries. Second – social media intermediaries. Third – Significant social media intermediaries. Fourth – OTT platforms.
Intermediary refers to a service provider who transmits and publishes users’ content, but unlike news media, he has no editorial control over that content. These intermediaries can be your internet service providers. There may be social media platforms or web services that allow you to upload, post or publish content.
4 Common Benefits for Users of All Social Media Platforms
1. Your Complaints Will Be Heard
By now, users had a report button to raise voice against social media posts, but did not have a robust system for handling complaints. Now social and digital media companies will have to create such a mechanism where users or Victim can register their complaint.
2. Who will hear the complaints, it will be known
that till now users do not know who is considering reporting against social media posts. Now companies will have to appoint an officer to handle the complaints of the users. The name and contact details of such officer will have to be mentioned.
3. In how many days the complaints will be processed, it will be known
that the users do not even get any timeframe till when their complaints will be processed. Under the guideline, the complaint officer will have to hear the case within 24 hours and the complaint will have to be resolved within 15 days.
4. There will be action on complaints of women in 24 hours,
companies will have to remove the content found against the dignity of the users and especially women, within 24 hours. This will be beneficial in cases where the privacy of women is endangered, there is an issue related to nudeness or sexual act, or their photo is morphed by someone.
On the larger social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook
, smaller social media platforms will come under the purview of strict-nosed social media intermediaries. They have to follow the guidelines mentioned above, which are common to all platforms. Now the question arises that what is Significant Social Media Intermediaries?
Significant social media intermediaries here mean platforms where the number of users is high. It is evident that its scope will include WhatsApp with 53 million users, YouTube with 44.8 million users, Facebook with 41 crore users, Instagram with 21 million users and Twitter with 1.75 crore users.
On the big social media platforms, there is an 8-way
strictness to be told about First Origin 1. The biggest strictness is that social media companies have to trace the first origin of offensive posts. That is, who first started Khurafat on social media? If it is originated from outside India, then who has circulated it first in India, it has to be told.
2. In matters like sovereignty, security, public order, foreign relations and rape, first origin information has to be given. In those cases, the origin will have to be mentioned in the charges which can be punished more than 5 years. There will be no need to state the content.
3. Social media companies will have to appoint Chief Compliance Officer to ensure implementation of government made laws and rules. This officer must be a person residing in India.
4. A nodal contact person has to be appointed, so that government agencies can contact 24X7 anytime. This Nodal Officer should also be a person residing in India.
5. Large social media companies will have to issue a Compliance Report every month on how many complaints came and what actions were taken on them.
6. Such companies will also have to mention their contact address in India on their website and mobile app.
7. For users to be verified on social media, a voluntary verification mechanism will have to be created. Such verification can be done via OTP over SMS.
8. If a social media platform removes a user’s content, then you have to inform the user about it, give reasons for it and listen to the user.
6 things OTT platforms have to consider, parental lock will be provided to keep children away.
1. A body of OTT platforms should be headed by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge or an expert in this field. This body should listen to the complaints and accept the Judgment on it. This will be similar to the way TV channels feel sorry for their content or pay a fine. Governments do not ask them to do so. They do it themselves. This is a self-regulation.
2. OTT and digital media will have to publish details / disclosure of where they get the information from.
3.The grievance redressal system will have to be maintained as it is for the rest of the intermediaries. That is, create a system for reporting complaints, appoint an officer to handle the complaints, and state the contact details, and resolve the complaints within the timeframe.
4. OTT platforms have to categorize their content into 5 categories. U (Universal), U / A 7+, U / A 13+, U / A 16+ and A ie Adult.
5. U / A 13+ and above categories will have to provide parental lock so that they can keep children away from such content.
6. Whether or not the content in the adult category is viewable age or not, will also have to be verified.
Emphasis on Self Regulation in
Digital News Media: Publishers of digital news media will have to abide by the rules relating to the Press Council of India and the Cable TV Network Regulation Act so that the system of regulation between print, TV and digital media is uniform. The government has asked Digital News Media Publishers to form a self-regulation body like the Press Council.