Govt. proposes online info ban termed ‘fake’ by its fact checkers
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Govt. proposes online info ban termed ‘fake’ by its fact checkers

New Delhi, 19-January-2023, By IBW Team

Govt. proposes online info ban termed ‘fake’ by its fact checkers

India’s government will not permit social media platforms to host any information that it identifies as false, according to a draft proposal of the country’s IT Rules released this week.

This is the latest in a slew of measures by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that are being seen as efforts to rein in big tech firms.

Any information identified as “fake or false” by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), or by any other agency authorised for fact-checking by the government or “by its department in which such business is transacted”, would be prohibited under the draft, a Reuters report from New Delhi stated, quoting the amended IT Rules released Tuesday.

Once information was identified as such, social media platforms or other “online intermediaries” would have to “make reasonable efforts” to ensure users do not “host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share” such information, it added.

In October, the government announced a panel would be set up to hear complaints from users regarding content moderation decisions of social media firms, which are already required to appoint in-house grievance redressal officers and executives to coordinate with law enforcement officials.

The government has also repeatedly been involved in tussles with various platforms when they failed to heed demands that certain content or accounts be taken down for allegedly spreading misinformation, the Reuters report pointed out.

Meanwhile, yesterday had reported that Even as the government released an amended IT Rules 2021, incorporating provisions for online gaming sector and some updates on fake news content, it said that the date for submitting comments has been extended by about a week ( .

“Feedback is invited from the public on these draft amendments as well. Submissions will not be attributed to individuals publicly and will be held in fiduciary capacity to enable persons submitting the feedback to provide the same freely,” the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) said in a statement Tuesday, adding, the last date for receipt of feedback is extended till January 25, 2023.

The revised draft amendments are placed on the Ministry’s website. The text of the rules as they would stand after effecting the amendments (with the amended portions of the text shown in colour) is also placed on the Meity website.

Amongst the amendments are the definition of what is an online game. It has been defined as a game that is offered on the Internet and is accessible by a user through a computer resource if he makes a deposit with the expectation of earning winnings.

It has also been clarified that an intermediary shall, before hosting or publishing or advertising an online game for a consideration, ascertain from the online gaming intermediary and verify from the self-regulatory body concerned whether such online game has been registered with such a body, apart from displaying the registration details, etc.

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