LONDON: Indian authorities have warned that big social media platforms that did not comply with new laws issued in the country three months ago may from Wednesday have their operations interrupted.
Companies, including Facebook and Twitter, have reportedly failed to abide by rules highlighted in the Gazette of India on Feb. 25 under intermediary guidelines and digital media ethics code regulations.
Set to take effect on Wednesday, the rules state that leading social media firms must appoint a resident grievance officer, a chief compliance officer, and a nodal contact person, and are required to document how grievances were filed and settled.
The Indian government had given three months for companies to prepare, and while some have requested an extension for up to six months, most platforms have so far failed to meet the criteria.
Most said the reason for noncompliance was due to social media headquarters in the US refusing to abide by India’s domestic laws.
The news comes shortly after reports of Indian police visiting Twitter’s offices after a tweet by a spokesperson for the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was flagged as “manipulated media.”
Under Twitter rules, the wording is used to tag posts that included “media that have been deceptively altered or fabricated.”
Tensions between the Indian government and social media companies have already been running high this year after Twitter reversed its decision to block a number of accounts related to farmers’ protests near Delhi following a request from authorities.
In April, the Indian government also ordered Twitter and Facebook to remove dozens of posts critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
On Sunday, India ordered social media platforms to take down posts that referred to the “Indian variant” of the virus, citing it as a false statement. The highly transmissible Indian or B.1.617 variant, is believed to have been responsible for the majority of COVID-19-related deaths in India and other South Asian countries in recent weeks.