Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reiterated on July 7 that a company in any sector operating in India must responsibly abide by the laws laid down by the country’s parliament. In a media interview, the minister also reflected on social media accountability and revealed that work is underway to hold public platforms accountable. Notably, it comes just a day after Twitter complied with the advice of the IT Department, which ordered the microblogging site to remove selected tweets and accounts from its platform by July 4.
Work underway to empower social media: IT minister
While speaking to the media on social media freedom in India, Vaishnaw said accountability starts with self-regulation, which is followed by industry regulation and finally comes government regulation. “Social media is a very powerful medium and it has a huge impact on our lives. But how to hold it accountable? It has become a very relevant issue all over the world,” the Union Minister said.
#LOOK | An ecosystem, a thought process that social media should be held accountable, is spreading in our country as well as globally… Rapid work is underway on how to hold it accountable: Minister of Union Informatics, Ashwini Vaishnaw, at ANI pic.twitter.com/vQ2VjleVzK
— ANI (@ANI) July 5, 2022
“First, there should be self-regulation, in which platforms should automatically remove any content that has a (negative) impact on society. Then there should be industry regulation and government regulation. An ecosystem, a process of thinking that social media should be held accountable, is spreading in our country as well as the world,” Vaishnaw added. affirmed that the government is working to engage everyone in this progress and to hold social media accountable.
#LOOK | “Whether it is any company, in any sector, they must abide by the laws of India. It is everyone’s responsibility to abide by the laws passed by Parliament,” said Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. pic.twitter.com/QPNhTpErY8
— ANI (@ANI) July 5, 2022
Regulation of Facebook and Twitter in India
The regulation of major social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in India has been a contentious issue since last year, especially before Ravi Shankar Prasad was replaced by Vaishnaw. According PTITwitter has removed several Khalistan-related posts and accounts praising terrorists in Kashmir, however, it has now moved Karnataka HC against central government orders on content control.
The blocking of accounts was carried out following orders from the Center in May this year and the platform was asked to take action on 60 additional accounts in June. Additionally, more than 80 accounts and tweets were blocked in 2021 after the government order, according to a list submitted by Twitter.