IT rules: Google purged over 11.6 lakh harmful content in India

Google removed 634,357 pieces of harmful content for May and 526,866 for June 2021 via its automated detection processes.

New Delhi: Google on Friday said that it removed over 11.6 lakh pieces of harmful online content in the months of May and June in India, in accordance with the new IT (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

As part of its monthly transparency reports for the two months, Google said that in addition to the details of complaints received from users in India and the actions taken thereon, the reports now include the removal of actions taken as a result of automated detection processes across Google’s platforms, classified as “Significant Social Media Intermediaries” (“SSMIs”) under the IT Rules.

Google removed 634,357 pieces of harmful content for May and 526,866 for June 2021 via its automated detection processes.

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“These figures show the number of removal actions taken on content from users in India across our SSMI platforms as a result of automated detection processes during the one-month reporting period,” the tech giant said in statement.

“The volume of automated detection is close to 10x that of user complaints, demonstrating the effectiveness of our automated systems,” it added.

Other social media firms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have also submitted their monthly transparency reports as required under the new IT rules.

Reiterating its stand that the new IT rules do not infringe the right to privacy and the freedom of expression, the government on Wednesday told Parliament that there is no proposal to review them.

The rules led to major controversy as micro-blogging platform Twitter was initially reluctant to abide by some of the norms which led to a major showdown, with then Electronics and IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, accusing the platform of gross violation of norms.

However, Twitter has now complied with the contentious norms including appointment of a grievance officer in the country.

Other significant social media platforms including Google had already complied with the regulations.

Google said that it invests heavily in fighting harmful content online and uses technology to detect and remove it from its platforms.

The Google report now contain further breakdown categories in terms of type of user complaints received, such as impersonation, graphic sexual content, and others.

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