Mobile Internet

Social Media companies have their work cut out as India comes out with new IT guidelines

Social Media apps on phone

Fake messages are very hard to find out on the messaging applications nowadays. The forwards we read are mostly a joke or a fake message. There is a lot of fake news created by some online goons and it is close to impossible to trace them and bring them down. The social media giants also make little to no effort to track such fake news creators on their messaging application. That said, the social media in India will be having a huge task in their hands.

The Indian government has now regulated a new IT guideline for the social media and messaging applications alike. The new guidelines suggest that any content or message that is harming the sovereignty and integrity of the nation should be tracked and taken down within the first 24 hours of it being published. This has taken the social media companies to a lot of work. They will have to monitor almost each and every message which can be fraudulent in any manner or also propaganda for that matter. If the message describes anything of this sorts then the platform of the message will have to take it down.

This is now going on for a long time and social media companies like Facebook, its messaging app WhatsApp, Twitter, and many other applications started to really look into the matter in the latter months of 2018. That said, Facebook has even appointed a hundred different employees to just keep track of such posts. It is also working with fact-checking companies which will help the company distinguish between fake and genuine news spread on Facebook and also on WhatsApp.

There was a similar problem a few months back when the government was asking WhatsApp to do the same. However, the company refused as it cannot break the encrypted chats and it won’t be able to trace those messages in the given time frame. However, they have to do the same now as India has allowed ten of its agencies to keep tabs on every computer in the country and the new policy will not let the social media giants alone.

This might shoo the social media companies away from India. However, India is a huge market and a lucrative one at that. So, the companies will have to follow the guidelines and cannot really stop existing in India. Jack Dorsey, CEO, Twitter, said that India is very important to him and his company. He also said that he absolutely adores the conversational nature of the country.

Facebook, on the other hand, is vastly popular in India, there are about 500 million internet users in India and out of those 300 million are on Facebook and 200 million people use WhatsApp. Such is the popularity of Facebook and WhatsApp in India. That said, all of the social media companies will have to follow the guidelines and there is no way around it, the deadline is coming closer and there is absolutely no time to rest for these giants.

-Unmesh Phule

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