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Govt may ask Twitter, Facebook to explain low compliance to notices

The central government might ask Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies to explain their alleged poor compliance to legal notices served in India, the Economic Times reported on Tuesday.

According to the newspaper, the IT ministry is compiling reports of actions taken by significant social media intermediaries (SSMIs), both voluntarily and in response to official notices in India as well as other nations for a detailed review.

Companies with more than 5 million registered users are regarded as SSMIs, according to Indian government guidelines.

The ministry will likely discuss the issue with SSMIs in the next fortnightly meeting, sources said.

“The rate of compliance to legal demands is very low in India compared to the number of users that (SSMIs) have in the country,” official sources told the paper.

As India has a large number of social media users, officials told, the number of objectionable and actionable content will also be higher.

According to Meta, India is its largest market with more than 400 million users. Twitter has nearly 24 million users in the nation, which is 10 per cent of the platform’s global user base of 330 million active users.

However, when comparing the compliance rates, “SSMIs lag,” an official told the paper.

While a Twitter spokesperson said the platform had ‘no comment’ to offer, a Meta representative said the company’s “community standards outline what is and is not allowed on our platform. If the content violates our Community Standards, we remove it from our platform.”

A representative for Meta, which owns Facebook, told the newspaper, “When we receive a valid legal order on taking down content that goes against local law, but might not go against out Community Standards, we restrict the content’s availability in the country where it is alleged to be unlawful.”

From July 2021 to December 2021, Facebook received 50,382 requests from various governments in India, of which 47,123 were legal. The company had complied with 64 per cent of these requests.

In the US, Meta complied 88 per cent of legal requests in the same period, while in the UK, it complied with 89 per cent of such requests.

Twitter’s overall compliance rate in India stood at 11 per cent, whereas in the US and the UK, it was at 13 per cent and 7 per cent, during January 2021-June 2021 period. Business Standard

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