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Fact Check: Are users required to verify their social media accounts within 3 months? Know truth here

The Centre has clarified that it is not mandatory for citizens to verify their social media accounts and that it has only asked social media platforms to ensure a mechanism for those who wish to do it voluntarily

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | February 28, 2021 | Updated 15:24 IST
Fact Check: Are users required to verify their social media accounts within 3 months? Know truth here
A Twitter post claiming citizens to verify their social media accounts with a government ID has gone viral on social media

The Centre on February 25 came out with new guidelines to regulate digital content platforms, online streaming, and social media. In the midst of this, a post that has gone viral on social media claiming that in keeping with the new guidelines, all social media accounts need to be verified through mobile phones with a government ID within three months.

Posting this claim on social media, Delhi High Court lawyer Prashant Patel Umrao wrote, "All SM accounts need to be verified with a government ID through mobile phones within three months. Welcome step. Internet is safer & more responsible now. Govt announces intermediary Guidelines & Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021 to safeguard users' rights. #ottguidelines."

Umrao posted this through his verified Twitter handle on February 25. India Today's Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) found the claim misleading. The government has clarified that it is not mandatory for citizens to verify their social media accounts, adding that it has only asked social media platforms to ensure an adequate mechanism for users who wish to verify their accounts voluntarily.

Also Read: New IT rules: Govt fixes 50 lakh users threshold to define 'significant social media intermediary'

Below mentioned are the archived versions of similar claims:-

AFWA probe

The AFWA couldn't detect any credible news report or government order concerning the obligatory verification of social media handles in India.

The new Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code was announced in a presser presided over by Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The Press Information Bureau (PIB) of India shared a video of Prasad talking about verification of social media accounts on its official Twitter handle.

"Users who wish to verify their accounts voluntarily shall be provided an appropriate mechanism to verify their accounts and provided with demonstrable and visible mark of verification: Union Minister," read the caption of the video.

Prasad can also be heard saying in the video that the social media platforms must ensure that a voluntary verification mechanism is put in place.

The AFWA also pat down the press release on the Digital Media Ethics Code issued by the Centre that refers to a "Voluntary User Verification Mechanism." It is only a voluntary step and not binding on the users, according to the government.

Also Read: New policy for social media, OTT platforms: Key highlights

"Users who wish to verify their accounts voluntarily shall be provided with an appropriate mechanism to verify their accounts and provided with a demonstrable and visible mark of verification," read the press release, under the subhead "Voluntary User Verification Mechanism."

It further stated that the new norms will come into effect from "the date of their publication in the gazette" and the points under the Additional Due Diligence to Be Followed by Significant Social Media Intermediary shall be effected "three months after publication of these rules."

Moreover, in an interview with News18, Prasad stated that the voluntary mechanism can be determined only by social media companies and not the Centre. Meanwhile, the fact check division of PIB has also affirmed that the verification of accounts is not obligatory and that the viral claim is fallacious.

Also Read: Govt announces new guidelines for social media, aims to track down first originator of mischievous content

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