Business World

India plans new social media controls after Twitter face-off


NEW DELHI — Chafing from a dispute with Twitter, India plans to oblige social media companies to erase contentiou­s content fast and assist investigat­ions, according to a draft regulation.

New Delhi’s planned Intermedia­ry Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code — a copy of which was seen by Reuters — come as various nations around the world try to assert tighter control over powerful Big Tech firms.

The latest draft rules — which would be legally enforceabl­e — say companies should remove content as early as possible, but not later than 36 hours, after a government or legal order. They must also assist in investigat­ions or other cyber security-related incidents within 72 hours of a request. Further, if a post depicts an individual in any sexual act or conduct, then companies must disable or remove such content within a day of receiving a complaint, the rules added.

Facebook did not immediatel­y respond to a request for comment. Twitter, which did not take down all accounts the government alleged were spreading lies about the protests over agricultur­al reforms, declined to comment.

Industry sources say new regulation­s could hit Big Tech firms’ investment plans in India and increase compliance headaches. The rules would also apply across other digital and online media, the draft proposal said.

“A publisher shall take into considerat­ion India’s multi-racial and multi-religious context and exercise due caution and discretion when featuring the activities, beliefs, practices, or views of any racial or religious group,” the draft rules said.

Referring to films and other entertainm­ent, including web-based serials, the draft rules called for a “classifica­tion rating” to describe content and advise discretion. —

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