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Home Ministry Raps Social Media For Inaction During Delhi Riots

Home Ministry Raps Social Media For Inaction During Delhi Riots

Platforms urged to improve response time for content takedowns

Delhi Police named 21 social media accounts in FIRs for provocative content

Last week, an FIR was filed against social media platforms for alleged “anti-national” content

The ministry of home affairs has pulled up social media platforms for not taking actions against “objectionable content” flagged by Delhi Police. This was in reference to the recent Delhi riots which has led to the death of 48 people.

As per a Hindustan Times report, the central government asked the representatives of several social media platforms to improve their response time in removing content that has been deemed hateful by the Delhi Police. Up to 21 social media accounts were named in FIRs filed by Delhi Police for provocative posts.

Twitter said it remains committed to working with governments everywhere to cut down hate speech and related behaviour. “We appreciate the importance of the work being undertaken by the Ministry of Home Affairs and we thank them for their inclusive engagement. We have no further details to share at this time,” the company said

The development comes a week after a man in Telangana, S Srishailam, filed an FIR against social media giants — WhatsApp, Twitter and TikTok  — for allowing people to spread anti-national activities. He specified that certain users have been running anti-citizenship amendment act (CAA) campaigns on social media to spread hatred and damage national integrity.

Additional DCP of Cyber Crimes, Raghuveer, clarified that the cyber crimes branch took up the case as it was filed under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and IT Act.

The FIRs and cases coincide with the Indian government’s push for social media regulations. As per media reports, the government has finalised on the IT intermediary guidelines but is seeking law ministry’s advice on the constitutional validity of the same.

The new IT intermediary guidelines will be an amendment to the Intermediary Guidelines Rules of 2011. Under this, social media platforms may be forced to reveal the identity of a user once approached by the central government or its departments. Besides this, platforms might also have to take down any “objectionable content” within 24 hours of being notified.

The government may also make in-built automated tools mandatory for social media platforms to filter out content related to child porn and terrorism. However, one government official said that the government may not go ahead with the automatic filtering of posts related to terrorism as it is a “broad” term and can be easily misused.