IT rules to tighten up on social media content

IT rules amended

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) announced on 28 October that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, have been amended to further regulate and protect social media users.

MeitY released a draft of the modifications in June 2022, seeking comments from stakeholders, which sparked debate over how social media should be regulated in India, specifically the new controls to which social media intermediaries have to adhere.

The declared goals of the revisions were threefold, according to the ministry when it released the draft amendments in June: protecting the interests and constitutional rights of netizens; strengthening the grievance procedure; and avoiding the negative impacts of compliance norms on early-stage Indian startups.

Intermediaries are currently only required to inform users about not uploading certain categories of harmful or unlawful content. The new amendments impose a legal obligation on intermediaries to take reasonable efforts to prevent users from uploading such content, shifting their role from that of a platform to publisher.