New Delhi: Under political pressure to sanitise its family of apps including WhatsApp in India, Facebook on Thursday cautiously welcomed the new social media regulations on intermediaries, saying the company will comb through the new rules to chart its further course of action.
The government has come up with new stringent guidelines for social media platforms along with code of ethics for over-the-top (OTT) platforms and digital media.
Addressing the media, Union Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that social media platforms will be classified under two categories – social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries – with the latter being subject to greater obligations.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement that they have always been clear as a company “that we welcome regulations that set guidelines for addressing today’s toughest challenges on the Internet”.
“Facebook is committed to people’s ability to freely and safely express themselves on our platforms. The details of rules like these matter and we will carefully study the new rules that were just published,” the company added.
The government will soon notify a list of significant social media intermediaries, the minister said, adding that platforms with a “significant” number of users will be classified as significant social media intermediaries.
The company said it acknowledges and appreciates the recognition from the Minister “on the positive contributions of social media to the country”.
“Facebook is an ally for India and the agenda of user safety and security is a critical one for our platforms. We will continue to work to ensure that our platforms play an enabling role in fuelling the exciting digital transformation of India,” the spokesperson added.
Twitter, which is also facing intense political heat in India, declined to comment on the new guidelines.
Twitter’s India rival and homegrown micro-blogging platform Koo said that the new guidelines set forth under the Indian laws help clarify the responsibilities of intermediaries.
“We understand the need for these social media guidelines. Only a small fraction of the social media users are found to be making posts which may be against the laws of the land,” a Koo spokesperson told IANS.
“The social media guidelines help make addressing these kinds of situations uniform across all platforms and ensures the safety of the majority of users across India,” the spokesperson added.
“This policy will help protect the interest of citizens at large and keep nefarious elements at bay,” the company said.