After the dispute with social media giant Twitter, the government plans to make social media companies fall in line regarding contentious content by erasing it swiftly and assisting in investigations. The government's draft regulation of Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code aim to have tighter control over the powerful big tech firms.
The draft regulation aims to make it legally binding for companies to remove content as early as possible but not later than 36 hours after a government or legal order is notified, as mentioned in a report in Reuters.
The companies must also assist in investigations or other cybersecurity-related incidents within 72 hours of a request. The rules further say that if any post depicts an individual in any sexual act or conduct then upon receiving the complaint, the companies must disable or remove the same within a day.
There must be a chief compliance officer, and another for coordinating on law enforcement as well as a 'grievance redressal officer'. All must be resident Indian citizens.
"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.
The report said it is unclear if the draft regulations would undergo more changes or when they would be implemented.
This comes after Twitter resisted orders to remove content over farmers' protests invoking the ire of the government. The social media giant eventually took down some accounts that the government alleged were spreading lies about the protests.
Industry sources say new regulations could hit Big Tech firms' investment plans in India. The rules would also apply across other digital and online media, the draft proposal said.
The draft rules also call for a 'classification rating' to describe content and advise discretion following complaints over content on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh questioned an Amazon executive for nearly four hours on Tuesday over allegations that a political drama, 'Tandav', hurt religious sentiments and caused public anger.