Social media companies 100% compliant on govt’s content block requests | India News


NEW DELHI: There has been a “100% compliance” with content blocking requests made by the state under Section 69A of the IT Act, marking perhaps the first instance of top social media giants such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google falling in line with the government’s demands.
Notwithstanding a few pending cases in courts filed by companies — especially Twitter which went to the Karnataka HC last July over what it alleged was disproportionate use of power by the state — there has not been much resistance to requests to block content with potential impact on national security, sovereignty, and public order. This also comes after the government tightened the regulatory mechanism around illegal content, and made companies appoint officers to look into user and government requests under the new IT guidelines.
Govt sends ‘500-600 requests’ a month to block online content
While activists and politicians from opposition parties have often accused governments of using the clause to muzzle “free speech and freedom of expression”, the government has always shot down these allegations, saying the blocking orders were only aimed at curtailing “illegal” conversations that may cause public disorder or threaten the sovereignty of the nation.
“There has been a broader agreement on the need to control conversations that are inimical to the state, or public order. The requests that we are sending as per section 69A are generally being adhered to. We usually send 500-600 requests every month, and do not have any pendency at the moment,” a top source told TOI.
The current state of peaceful co-existence is a far cry from the acrimony of before, such as the repeated refusal of Twitter to pay heed to the government’s requests to block users and accounts during the farmer protests. The government, while issuing the blocking orders, had said it wanted the accounts to be taken down as they had the potential to create public disorder in the country, particularly in and around the national capital.
The blocking requests are made after a committee, with representatives from the ministries of IT, home, law, I&B and CERT-In, and other key agencies, concludes that certain user accounts, or content, need to be removed. Many of these are related to terrorism, Jammu & Kashmir, and hate speech emanating from Pakistan or even within the country.
“We are giving reasonable orders, with repeated engagements with companies in case of disagreements,” the source said.


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