The government told Meta that it expects a higher degree of compliance for takedown orders across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp
The Centre told top Meta executive during a meeting that Google is doing a better job with regards to action on takedown notices
Electronics and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw pointed out that Meta has fewer per capita fact checkers in India as compared to the US
The Centre has reportedly directed Meta, which owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, to work on executing the government’s content takedown orders within an hour of receiving them.
The demand was made during a closed-door meeting between Communications and Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Meta’s President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg in November, Moneycontrol reported.
It is pertinent to note that the new IT Rules, 2021 grant social media platforms a leeway of up to 36 hours to enforce takedown orders.
The report, citing sources, said that the government told Meta that it expects a higher degree of compliance for takedown orders.
In response, a Meta spokesperson told Moneycontrol, “We deeply appreciate the opportunity to discuss how Meta can work together with the government to achieve India’s Techade goals. Since these were closed-door meetings, we would not be able to share more information.”
Among other things, the government also told Meta that its competitor Google is doing a better job with regards to action on takedown notices.
The meeting was also attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). During his trip, Clegg reportedly also met at least two other ministers to discuss India’s evolving internet regulations and Meta’s work in the country.
As per the report, Vaishnaw also reprimanded Meta for having fewer per capita fact checkers in India as compared to the US.
“The minister’s contention was that the number of per capita fact-checkers in India is smaller when compared to the US. And he also made the point that India has many languages which requires a much more sophisticated approach to fact-checking and proactive content takedowns,” the report cited a source as saying.
Concerns Over Fake News
Meta has been under fire for failing to proactively act on fake news on its platforms. Similar concerns were raised after the infamous Facebook Papers revelations last year. The investigation revealed that Meta (then Facebook) showed a lack of cultural sensitivity and failed to deploy enough resources in the country’s 22 officially recognised languages
Earlier this year, officials of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting also pulled up the executives of Facebook for not cracking down on misinformation.
Post that, multiple Union ministers noted that the failure of social media platforms to reign in fake news was forcing the government to issue takedown orders. It was also reported recently that the Centre was considering bringing in provisions under the Digital India Act to govern social media algorithms and regulate such platforms.
Meta, on its part, has been making efforts to tame misinformation on its platforms. Earlier this year, it onboarded South India-based NewsMeter as the eleventh third-party fact checker in India.
In October this year, Meta took down nearly 32 Mn pieces of content across Facebook and Instagram platforms for flouting community guidelines.