The government of India is planning to shift the responsibilities for ensuring that the various social media platforms are free from the harmful content from users, apart from the companies having the management teams which are based India, the telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan told. It is a part of focused efforts taken by the government to make them more accountable when the security concerns.
“The committee which I’m part of is primarily looking into a few key aspects, including shift of accountability from a user to a social platform, as users are sometimes unaware and innocently retweet or forward content, so much higher standards of accountability for platforms are needed,” she said in an interview.
The centre is dissatisfied with the steps which are taken by the Whatsapp for curbing the menaces like the fake news. The Ministry of Electronics and IT would be drafting the letter —its third since July to the platform—asking it to design a technology-led solution to the viral messages that in the past have led to lynchings and riots.
DoT can make lawful interceptions in the interests of public safety but does not propose to block social apps, she said. It’s up to the companies to have adequate precautionary measures.
“It is their (companies) responsibility to put enough safeguards, especially for the use relating to fake news, child pornography and cyber bullying and take action,” she said. The department had in July sought technical inputs from stakeholders including telecom operators and internet service providers to examine options for checking popular social media apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and Instagram in order to curb fake news and child pornography.
“Is the Indian citizen any less than an American citizen? No. Whatever safeguards and best practices you (companies) are providing globally, nothing less than should be available for India. This is the principle we are trying to establish,” Sundararajan said.