Is social media really getting banned in India?

Is social media really getting banned in India?

A hot topic, indeed! Well, I was thinking the other day that bickering between the government and various kinds of applications like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp has started recently. First of all, Pubg Mobile and Tik Tok were the applications that fell in the pit because they did not comply with the guidelines mentioned by the government. The point is that history is repeating itself. This sudden outspread of news that you might have heard by now is the cause of the new guidelines that have been laid by the government. Let us go a bit deep into the topic! 

What happened 3 months ago?

It started exactly three months ago, that is, 25 February 2021. Back then, The Union Government had introduced some of the stronger policies for big social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Instagram. The government had mentioned removing the content which is flagged by the authorities. The authorities also wanted to appoint an officer in the country to set up a complaint redressal mechanism. 

But yes, it is not easy for social media platforms to do it suddenly. That is why The Indian Government decided to give them ample time which was 3 months. It was mentioned by the Government that new policies will come into effect from 26th May 2021. Now, as the date is due so is the time for the platforms to comply with the new policies. No platform has complied with the Government’s guidelines so far. 

These social media apps are at risk of losing the intermediary’s protection and status. According to Indian laws, the Centre can take criminal action.

What are the odds against this ban?

As we all know that we are still going through the fatal wave that has captured many of us. A week or two before state governments decided to put curbs in the form of lockdown. The scenario that we are in is the same as last year. People entertained themselves with these social media apps. If we think about the citizen, then this can be a rash decision. Maybe, the Government never wanted to ban the apps. They just want the policies to comply with. 

This might result in Government’s goal being fulfilled as the United States-based social media app, Facebook has asked for six months. It’s still not known if the Union Government has decided to lend that time. Don’t worry, we’ll update you with everything that you must know! 

New conditions and regulatory requirements that the Government wants to impose

  • Government calls these big tech companies “significant social media”. The government mentioned the need of appointing a compliance officer who can respond to the needs and demands of the Centre. For instance, if the Government wants a post to be deleted which is offensive, then the authorities will mark them as flagged. That social media platform will have to delete it.

  • The next thing that the Centre wants is that the tech companies will have to hire a nodal officer. The nodal officer must coordinate with the law and enforcement agencies. The respective Nodal officers must coordinate with the Government whenever they need the government. 

  • Along with the Nodal officer, the Government has asked these social media apps to appoint a grievance redressal officer. All the users of social media will approach and share their grievances in this way. 

  • An incredible demand of the Government has left us all in amazement. The Indian Government wants to ensure WhatsApp that they can trace a message to the original sender. This means breaking end-to-end encryption on messages. It is hard for WhatsApp to make a sudden change in its policies. It is incredibly challenging for Whatsapp. 

Now, the next question that pops up in our minds is about Netflix. What happens if Netflix gets banned too? 

Do not worry, I have good news for you. As you already told that these four social media apps have not yet complied with the IT Act and its rules. But, Netflix being the nice kid has complied with new IT Rules. Not only Netflix, but other streaming apps have done it. 

Moreover, Facebook that owns WhatsApp and Instagram has ensured to comply with the guidelines mentioned by the Government on February 25. They said, “We aim to comply with the provisions of the IT rules and continue to discuss a few of the issues which need more engagement with the government”. 

Are you, being the user of these apps, going to get affected?

The matter is not as complicated as it seems. Each service is going to work smoothly for a while now. But, it can change if the companies decide not to comply with the rules. 

Remember what happened last year? Turkey posed kind of same challenges in front of social media apps. Not complying with them resulted in banning the social media apps from advertising. 

Same way, the Indian Government can levy a fine. This is a matter of the short term. Users won’t be affected in short term. 

What can be the benefits that Government has taken under its consideration?

If these big tech companies comply with the Government it will turn into a more secure nation. People all over the world can comment anything on anybody. Twitter fights and heated arguments have significantly made hoax in the country at such a point in time. To avoid the mess created by the people within and outside, the Government had to take such a step. It will also help in reducing criminality as it will become easy for them to trace the information.

Conclusion- Ban of social media apps in India

It is unlikely for the Government to ban these apps right away. The Government might lend the tech companies some more time to comply with the rules. So, for now, you can continue with your entertainment. No one is there to interrupt you yet. Moreover, if they get banned, Indian tech companies will do the foreplay which is good for those companies and for our nation too. We’ll keep you updated with whatever the government and the social media apps have cooked for us! See ya!

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