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HomeTechNo linking of government identity with social media accounts of individuals: MeitY

No linking of government identity with social media accounts of individuals: MeitY

Chennai: There is no proposal to bring a separate law to authenticate social media accounts or for linking a Government identity with social media accounts of individuals, the government clarified on Wednesday. Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said this in a written response to a question raised in the Lok Sabha about whether the government had plans to curb the spread of fake news through such means.

The government said it was aware of the risks and dangers posed by fake news and dissemination of wrong information through social media platforms but said it has taken several steps to address these challenges.

“The Government has notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021) under the Information Technology Act (IT Act), 2000 to make social media platforms accountable to their users and enhance user safety online,” it said in a written reply.

It went on to add that as per these Rules, the significant social media intermediary (SSMI) would enable users who register for their services from India, or use their services in India, to voluntarily verify their accounts by using any appropriate mechanism, “including the active Indian mobile number of such users, and where any user voluntarily verifies their account, such user shall be provided with a demonstrable and visible mark of verification.”

This SSMI primarily providing messaging service would also have to identify the first originator of the information for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of an offence, the government added.

The government said that the IT Rules, 2021 published on 25th February, 2021 also require intermediaries to publish privacy policy and terms of use of their platform. They have also been mandated to inform their users not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, update or share any information that is harmful, objectionable, and unlawful in any way.

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“They are also required to remove any unlawful content related to Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India or violative of any law, as and when brought to their knowledge either through a court order or through a notice by appropriate government or its agency. The Rules also require that publishers of online news observe the Code of Ethics.”

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