For what reasons social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram etc. might get banned in India effective from May 26 2021?

Words Amisha Shirgave

Everyone in India is freaking out over the news of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook possibly being banned. No wonder, I mean social media plays a vital role in people’s lives these days as the day begins with it and also ends to it. Well, the reason behind the possibility of ban is what people need to know before freaking out. It all started in February 2021 when the central government had released detailed social media guidelines and companies such as Facebook, Instagram, and others had been bound to respond with these rules by May 25. However, none of these companies responded to the government guidelines. This led to major question of whether these companies are serious about the guidelines or not. Government guidelines come in effect from May 26 in India. On failing to respond, these companies may lose their status and rights as intermediaries, and criminal action may be taken in accordance with Indian laws. 

Indian government announced new rules in February that require major social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp to conduct additional due diligence, which includes the appointment of a chief enforcement officer, nodal contact person, and resident grievance officer. Given the value of a public interface for grievances and the need for an acknowledgement procedure for requests, officials indicate that appointing a grievance officer will be a key requirement from the start of the rules' implementation. The rules also mentioned that major social media sites will have to post a monthly compliance report that includes information on reports received and actions taken, as well as information on content that was actively deleted. They'll also have to provide a physical contact address in India on their website, mobile app, or both. 

According to government statistics, India has 53 million WhatsApp users, 44.8 million YouTube subscribers, 41 million Facebook subscribers, 21 million Instagram users, and 1.75 million Twitter users. So these companies might face huge loss if they deny to agree with government guidelines. Though Facebook has agreed to comply with these new rules, other companies are reportedly making excuses and asking for extension of the deadline. WhatsApp on the other hand has sued the government saying new IT rules mean end to user privacy.