With the new amendments in IT Rules coming into force last week, the digital ecosystem across platforms is ready to brace for tough days ahead. The new tweak in rules are not just aimed at the US BigTech operating platforms including Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube and many more, but may certainly bring in more accountability for smaller digital platforms dealing in data of customers.
According to new rules, all the digital platforms operating in India including e-commerce, e-consumer services, matrimonial websites and dating sites will be held accountable for any data breach and misinformation including impersonation causing hurt or harm to any individual.
The new rules also allow consumers to move to Grievance Appellate Committees (GAC) for any redressal under the set provisions in case of any disinformation disseminating from any digital platform. Also under the new IT rules no platforms can suspend citizens’ accounts without following a systematic process.
The new rules also impose a legal obligation on social media companies to make all efforts to prevent prohibited content and misinformation. These companies will be under the jurisdiction of local laws and the Constitutional rights of Indian users.
The amendments were enforced by the Union government on Friday after many Indian users complained of inaction by intermediaries over their lawful complaints regarding objectionable content or suspending their accounts.
Apart from popular social media platforms now with the new amendments in place a lot of matrimonial websites and dating sites such as Tinder and Bumble will now have to be far more careful about data leak complaints as well as impersonation that may cause hurt or harm to any individual. Instances of fake IDs of women – posted on dating and matrimonial sites – are some of the common complaints by many women.
Meanwhile digital ad platforms such as JustDial.com, and e-commerce sellers such as Amazon and Flipkart will also come under probe radar over data leak complaints. Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajeev Chandrasekhar has said that if the new rules do not yield effective results the Union government may further slap penalties on digital platforms that fail to act over genuine consumer complaints.
Further onus to comply with all Indian laws will be entirely on the e-commerce platforms if complaints of any illegal product being sold on a certain platform. In the recent past complaints were raised over slippers, cigarette ashtrays with hurtful depiction regarding religion and nationality and sex was sold on some platforms. The amendments put obligations on internet companies to ensure that no unlawful content or misinformation is posted on e-platforms.