Regulators

Parliamentary panel asks Google, Facebook to comply with new IT rules

The new rules came into effect on 26 May.

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New Delhi: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology (IT) has directed US tech giants Facebook and Google to comply with the new IT rules, which came into effect on 26 May.

Both Facebook and Google officials had appeared before the Parliamentary panel on Tuesday regarding the issue of safeguarding citizens' rights and preventing the misuse of social/online news media platforms. The panel chaired by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had asked the officials of the social media sites to appear in person on the issue.

According to media reports, the representatives were made aware of certain loopholes in their existing data protection and privacy policy mechanism and were asked to have stringent safeguards in place to protect the data privacy and data security of their users. The meeting was attended by Facebook India associate general counsel Namrata Singh and the company's director of public policy Shivnath Thukral.

Google officials also informed the committee that between January and March 2021, YouTube removed over 9.5 million videos for violating its community guidelines. "95 percent of these videos were first flagged by machines rather than humans. Of those detected by machines, 27.8 percent never received a single view & 39 percent received one and ten views," officials told the committee, "During this same quarter, YouTube terminated over 2.2 million channels for violating its Community Guidelines. In this same period. YouTube removed more than one billion comments, the majority of which were spam and were detected automatically."

While officials from Facebook, Google, and Twitter have also appeared before the panel, representatives of YouTube and other Social Media Intermediaries will also be summoned in the coming weeks over the issue.

The new IT (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) rules, 2021 were notified on 25 February and came into effect on 26 May. The rules recommend a three-tier mechanism for the regulation of all online media. As per the rules, each significant social media intermediary is 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 should be resident Indians.

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