Social media guidelines will protect citizens: Koo

Social media guidelines will protect citizens, keep nefarious elements at bay: Koo co-founder

Small toy figures are seen in front of displayed Koo app logo in this illustration. Credit: Reuters.

The Centre on Thursday announced guidelines to regulate social media, online streaming platforms, and digital news portals by asking them to set up grievance redressal mechanisms.
Contending that the government was adopting a “soft-touch regulatory approach”, Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said social media companies, OTT platforms, and digital media will have to set up a grievance redressal mechanism for ordinary users and timely resolution.

While the guidelines evoked mixed feelings from legal experts, homegrown Twitter alternative 'Koo' was in full support of the government, welcoming the move.

"Only a small fraction of the social media users are found to be making posts which may be against the laws of the land. The social media guidelines help make addressing this kind of situations uniform across all social media platforms and ensure the safety of the majority social media users across India," Koo co-founder Mayank Bidawataka told Mint.

"At the same time, we are committed to abiding by the laws of the land. This policy will help protect the interest of citizens at large and keep nefarious elements at bay,” Bidawataka told the publication.

Read: Explained | How Centre’s new guidelines will impact digital news portals

He added that enabling and maintaining freedom of speech is core to social media platforms and that the company will continue to work in the best interest of its users at all times.

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 were brought in as the government had received several complaints raising concerns over the “rampant abuse of social media platforms”.

“Social media platforms, upon being asked either by court order or by a government authority will be required to disclose the first originator of a mischievous tweet or a message,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

With the new social media policy announcement, Facebook, Twitter and others will have to appoint dedicated posts as grievance officer and compliance officer. Also, they will be required to block controversial accounts or misinformation within a stipulated time.

Since January 26 Republic day violence in Delhi, the Indian government and Twitter have been at loggerheads to block accounts accused of spreading hate. So far, the US company has complied partially with the government's order, but yet to block all the people featured in the Iist. But, once the policy kicks in three months, it won't be able to delay any further.

With inputs from DHNS

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