India Says New Social Media Laws in Response to Violations | Technical news

By Munsif Vengattil and Aditya Kalra

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India on Monday re-enacted new rules for social media companies, which it then abruptly withdrew last week without making changes but explaining the law is necessary because the companies have constitutional rights the Indians would have hurt.

The country last week released a draft amendment to its IT law that would require companies to “respect the rights accorded to citizens under the Constitution of India” and set up a governing body to hear appeals against companies’ decisions on Listen to moderation of content.

The government re-released the draft on Monday with no changes and asked for public comments within 30 days. But New Delhi explained its reasoning for the first time.

“A number of (technology) intermediaries have violated the constitutional rights of Indian citizens,” the government said, without naming a company or specific rights.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has had strained ties with many big tech companies, and New Delhi has tightened regulation of companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Tensions between the Indian government and Twitter flared last year when the company refused to fully comply with orders to take down accounts that the government said were spreading misinformation about certain peasant protests.

Twitter also faced backlash in India for banning accounts of influential people, including politicians, citing violations of its policies.

The government’s proposal would force companies to “take all reasonable measures to ensure the accessibility of their services to users, together with reasonable expectations of due diligence, privacy and transparency”.

The government defended the proposed new Appellate Body, saying social media companies had no such mechanism and “there is no credible self-regulatory mechanism”.

Google’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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