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Centre sets 5 mn users as threshold for significant social media intermediaries

Significant social media intermediary will have to appoint a chief compliance officer

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KOLKATA: The government laid down new rules for social media platforms on Thursday, making a distinction between social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries. In a gazette notification, the government has specified five million registered users in India as the threshold for significant social media intermediaries.

“Social media platforms have done exceedingly well in terms of business and the number of users, while also empowering ordinary Indians. But it is very important that crores of social media users must be given a proper forum for resolution of their grievances against use and abuse of social media in a time-bound manner,” said union information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday.

Each significant social media intermediary would be required to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person for 24x7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and a resident grievance officer. All three would be resident Indians. They will also have to publish a monthly compliance report mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken.

They will also have to give a prior intimation, in cases where they remove/disable access to any information (social media post) on their accord. So, the platforms will now have to communicate to the users, the grounds and reasons for such action and give users adequate opportunity to dispute the action taken by the intermediary.

The government has also asked the significant social media intermediaries providing services primarily in the nature of messaging "to enable identification of the first originator of the information,” explaining that this would be required “only for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of an offence related to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order or of incitement to an offence relating to the above or in relation with rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years.”

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