The government said it was aware of the risks and dangers posed by fake news and the spread of misinformation through social media platforms, but said it had taken several steps to address these challenges.
“The Government has notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Code of Ethics) Rules 2021 (IT Rules, 2021) under the Information Technology Act ( Computer Act) 2000 to make social media platforms accountable to their users and improve user safety online,” he said in a written response.
He went on to add that under these rules, the major social media intermediary (SSMI) would allow users who register for their services from India, or use their services in India, to voluntarily verify their accounts by using any appropriate mechanism, “including such users’ active Indian mobile phone number, and when a user voluntarily verifies their account, such user shall be provided with a demonstrable and visible verification mark.”
This SSMI mainly providing a messaging service should also identify the first sender of the information for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or repression of an offence, the government added.
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“They are also bound to remove any illegal content related to Section 19(2) of the Constitution of India or contrary to any law as it comes to their notice either by order court, or by notice from the appropriate government or its agency. The Rules also require online news publishers to abide by the Code of Ethics.”