Here's How The Ban On The Social Media Giants Will Affect Your Fundamental Rights
Earlier in February this year, the Centre had notified new and strict guidelines for Social Media Intermediaries. These guidelines not only are unconstitutional, but they violate the citizen's fundamental right to speech, expression, and privacy.
What are Social Media Intermediaries?
When you use an app to post your content, the app becomes your host. Hence, an Intermediary, a platform you use to express yourself. Obviously, you are accountable for the type of posts you post on these platforms, right? But according to the new guidelines set up by the Centre, the platforms will be liable for anything anyone posts that is considered "indecent" by the Centre.
How does this affect you?
Well.. you would have noticed there is something around the lines of This message is end-to-end encrypted. With these new guidelines, any forwards you send to anyone that is considered "indecent" by the Centre will be not only taken down but the origin of the forward will be traced. This violates the message being "end-to-end encrypted" and hence, your privacy and freedom of speech.
The guidelines also expect you to "remove the mask" basically, any message you see or read will be indicated to the message's sender through a blue tick. This violates your anonymity.
There has always been a Grievance officer responsible for addressing users Grievances within a month, but now the Grievance Officer will have to respond to the complaint within 24 hours and resolve the same within 15 days. The Grievance Officer is not required to give the reason behind taking down the posts to anyone other than the Centre. This means that the Centre can be discriminatory in its decisions to take down posts.
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What has been happening
The government of India has been trying to control what is posted on the internet for quite some time now. Censorship in India has always been a massive problem with the Indian government.
The Centre has constantly been asking the social media giants to take down posts relating to the mishandling of the COVID surge in India. The government had asked the platforms to take down over 200 posts in April. According to the officials, the misinformation relating to the covid-spread creates panic amongst the citizens.
"Certain people are misusing social media to create panic in society," India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in a statement Monday when asked about the blocks. It didn't specify which laws were used to issue the orders.
So what now?
The aforementioned guidelines were to be accepted or rejected by May 25th, today none of the social media platforms have given the Centre a clear-cut answer. They have asked the government for six more months to come up with a compromise. So what does this mean? Well, we don't quite know. The government can take down every single platform and ban it for good tomorrow or agree to their compromise.