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Social media cos must take down illegal content within 24 hrs in Pakistan, according to new rules

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Content takedowns within 24 hours, data localisation and physical office in Pakistan are some of the rules that social media companies will now have to follow to operate in Pakistan. The Pakistani Government notified its rules governing social media companies on February 13. Called the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020 (available below), they are a part of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (PECA). Importantly, "Social media" is defined under the rule as "social media application or service or communication channel dedicated to community based input, interaction, content, sub content sharing and collaboration, and includes Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube, Dailymotion, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, TikTok and any other such application and service." How Social Media companies will need to deal with content takedowns Content takedowns within 24 hours: The company will have 24 hours to remove, suspend or disable access to illegal online content when it receives such communication from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). This is only for online content, not for accounts themselves. For emergencies: which will be solely determined by the National Coordinator, the social media company will have 6 hours. Who decides: PTA or the National Coordinator (who will be appointed by the Minister of IT & Telecommunications) will determine what's permissible according to law and this would take precedence over the social media company’s own community guidelines. Compare this to what UK’s delegation of power to Ofcom suggests — that for legal content, social media platforms themselves will determine what they will…

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