Around 71 videos of child pornography, rape and gang-rape, among other offences, were taken off from social media, according to the home ministry’s annual report released last week.
The information technology (IT) act clearly states that browsing, creation, downloading and publication of child porn is illegal in India. However, more than 10K complaints of online content pertaining to child pornography and child sexual abuse were filed till March 31, 2019 on the government’s portal, which was launched in September 2018. The portal provides a centralised platform to enable citizens to report such illegal sexual abuse content.
A list of 500 key words used in searching such videos was compiled and shared with service providers such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, WhatsApp and Microsoft, according to an ET report.
The complaints portal was formalised after the Supreme Court said, reacting to a petition filed by non-governmental organisation Prajwala on pornography, that online menace of child porn and sexual abuse videos has to be curtailed.
The online portal offers two options for complaints, including anonymous report and report and track. Once the complainant reports any incident of such sexual abuse online content, the state police authorities take it up for investigation.
“Evidence such as website addresses and attachments in common document, image and video formats can be uploaded on the portal. The home ministry facilitates blocking and removal of the reported content such as sexual abuse videos if found unlawful,” said a home ministry official, according to the media report.
Social Media Platforms Asked To Take Down Objectionable Content Within 36 Hours
Social media platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were asked to comply with the law enforcement agencies and take down sexual abuse content and lewd messages from their platforms within 36 hours.
The government is proposing a form of online content moderation and social media regulation which is likely to be put into place next year. The amendment of Section 79 of India’s IT Act requires internet companies to take down content marked as inappropriate by authorities within 36 hours of the complaint being made.
Earlier, social media platforms were given 72 hours to remove the sexual abuse videos and other objectionable content. However, after frequent incidents of violence linked to social media content, government became more vigilant about sexual abuse content and reduced it to 36 hours.