New IT Rules: Govt. issues 105 blocking orders to Social Media Firms

The data shared by the Minister of State for Electronics and IT shows that 94 directions to block content were issued to YouTube between December 2021 and April 2022, 5 to Twitter, and 3 each to Facebook and Instagram.

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Under the new IT rules, the government has issued 105 directives to social media platforms that went into effect in February of last year, Parliament was informed on Friday.

As per the information shared by Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar in a written reply to Rajya Sabha, the directions were issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting under the new rules.

According to the data provided by the minister, 94 orders to block content were issued to YouTube between December 2021 and April 2022, five to Twitter, and three each to Facebook and Instagram.

Minister Chandrasekhar added that the government’s policies are aimed at ensuring an open, safe, trusted, and accountable internet for its users.

He said that the government has notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Codes) Rules, 2021 (“IT Rules, 2021”) on February 25, 2021, to make intermediaries including social media platforms accountable to their users and enhance user safety online.

“Neither the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 nor the above-said rules contravene users’ right to privacy,” Chandrasekhar said.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) is also said to conduct quarterly compliance audits of social media companies.

Social media platforms are currently required to disclose their compliance with IT rules 2021 every month, where they disclose measures taken in response to various grievances.

According to the source, “MeitY has now implemented a mechanism to audit social media intermediaries’ compliance with IT rules on a quarterly basis. As part of the audit, the ministry will check to see if social media companies are correctly reporting grievances and if their actions are in accordance with the rules.”

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