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IT Minister Prasad praises Google & Facebook for deleting bad posts, defiant Twitter faces heat

IT Minister Prasad praises Google and Facebook for deleting bad posts, defiant Twitter faces heat

Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday praised social media platforms Google, Facebbok and Instagram for publishing their first compliance report on voluntary removal of offensive posts, describing it as a big step towards transparency.

Facebook took action against more than 30 million posts while its photo-sharing app Instagram acted against about two million posts between May 15 and June 15, the tech giant’s first compliance report states, according to news agency PTI. Taking action could include removing a piece of content from Facebook or Instagram or covering photos or videos that may be disturbing to some audiences with a warning.

Google stated that 27,762 complaints were received by it and its subsidiary YouTube in April this year from individual users in India over alleged violation of local laws or personal rights, which resulted in removal of 59,350 posts.

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Bengaluru-based media firm Koo, in its report, said it has proactively moderated 54,235 content pieces, while 5,502 posts were reported by its users during June.

Under India’s new IT rules, large digital platforms that have over 5 million users are required to publish compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken on them.

"Nice to see significant social media platforms like Google, Facebook and Instagram following the new IT Rules. First compliance report on voluntary removal of offensive posts published by them as per IT Rules is a big step towards transparency," Prasad tweeted.

Also read:  Defiant Twitter blocks IT Minister Prasad’s account

The publishing of compliance reports by the three companies is expected to build pressure on social media giant Twitter, which has been at loggerheads with the government over the new IT rules. 

Twitter had recently gone to the extent blocking IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s account for over complaints that he violated the US copyright law by posting clips of himself from television debates.The account was restored after an hour with the minister lambasting the micro blogging platform for acting in a manner that was arbitrary and in gross violation of India’s IT rules.

The government has criticised Twitter for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country's new IT rules, and not appointing the compliance officers, leading to the social media giant losing the 'safe harbour' immunity. 

According to the IT rules, significant social media intermediaries are required to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal officer and a grievance officer and these officials have to be resident in India.

Non-compliance with the IT rules would result in these platforms losing their intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data appearing on their platforms.

India is a huge market for the US tech giants with 53 crore WhatsApp users, 41 crore Facebook subscribers, 21 crore Instagram clients, while there are 1.75 crore account holders on Twitter, according to government figures.

These companies have also drawn up plans to diversify business and enter the financial services sector as well based on their massive user base.