Follow the law of the land or… Centre warns messaging platform’s chiefs

Follow the law of the land or… Centre warns messaging platform’s chiefs

New Delhi: After Government of India summoned WhatsApp chief Daniel to a meeting asking him to follow the law of the land and allow the authorities to trace the messages to the original sender, the giant platform had to turn down the request.

Now after WhatsApp told that the company’s protocol does not allow it to invade users privacy, the Centre have come with a new rule that could land social media apps in trouble if they fail to curb online hate and misinformation which is widely circulated using these apps, NDTV reported.

The Centre said it is willing to take action against platform like WhatsApp and Facebook if the apps fail to locate the original senders location initiating and circulating the misinformation that could lead to mob killings.

Now the Centre has asked messaging platform to appoint grievances officer while on the hand, a plea to reinforce the centre’s demand is being heard by SC.

“There are country representatives of all online giants in India. Action would be initiated against them if they do not comply to remove online hate,” a senior bureaucrat dealing with the issue told NDTV.

In order to curb the mob violence and lynchings widely reported across the nation, several recommendations have been forwarded to Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s committee of Ministers.

The committee is headed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba who has held consultations, recommendations and forwarded the detailed report to the group of ministers reporting to Home Minister.

The reports will further be submitted to PM Modi for a final decision said Home Ministry official.

“We have stepped up our engagements with social media platforms – WhatsApp, Facebook, twitter and YouTube. A framework has been worked out, which enables the government to give orders and remove/ block objectionable content,” he adds.

All Online Media platform stakeholders have been asked to submit compliance reports also.

“If compliance is not timely and damage increases after warnings,” along with strict action would be initiated against the violators the report added.

Meanwhile, all social media giants have also been asked to employ NGOs and volunteers to help the government to scan online material along with a separate web portal to address the complaints.

“Thorough CCPWC, any private person can register a complaint if he observes anything objectionable on social media,” explains an officer familiar with the new developments.

The report also gives more power to various law enforcement agencies to prevent child pornography.

“We have organised various workshops and have explained to them how to deal with such delicate issues,” another senior official of north block adds.

“Social media is expanding. People do not engage with each other face to face but they do it online. So enough gatekeepers need to be employed to keep a check on what is appearing online. It is like deputing more beat constables in any area,” the officer explained.

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