Ministry of Electronics & IT vide press release dated 09 December 2022 has announced measures for Curbing of Obscenity and Vulgarity on Social Media Networks. With the expansion of the Internet and more and more Indians coming online, the potential for Indians being exposed to obscene and vulgar content on the Internet has grown.
To help achieve the aim of making Internet Open, Safe and Trusted and Accountable and to strengthen the mechanism to deal with such cybercrimes in a coordinated manner, the Central Government, in exercise of powers conferred by the IT Act, has made the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. These rules cast specific obligation on intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to observe due diligence and provide that if they fail to observe such due diligence, they shall no longer be exempt from their liability under law for third-party information or data or communication link hosted by them. Such due diligence includes the following:
- To make reasonable efforts to cause the users not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share, among others, information which is obscene, or paedophilic, or pornographic, or is invasive of another’s bodily privacy, or is harmful to child, or impersonates another person, or violates any law;
- To provide, upon receipt of an order from a lawfully authorised government agency, information or assistance for prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution under law;
- To have in place a grievance redressal machinery, and resolve complaints of violation of the rules within 72 hours of being reported and, in case of a complaint by an individual or her/his authorised representative, remove within 24 hours any content which prima facie exposes the private area of such individual, shows such individual in full or partial nudity or shows or depicts such individual in any sexual act or conduct, or is in the nature of impersonation in an electronic form, including artificially morphed images of such individual;
- In case an intermediary is a significant social media intermediary (i.e., an intermediary having more than 50 lakh registered users in India), to additionally observe due diligence in terms of appointing a Chief Compliance Officer, a nodal contact person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and a Resident Grievance Officer.