Social media companies came under fire at a March 4 meeting held by the Home Ministry for not taking down content related to the Delhi riots on time, the Indian Express reported. Twitter was singled out for its low compliance rate with takedown requests from the government. The meeting was a routine one that the government holds with social media companies to discuss takedowns in compliance with Section 69A of the IT Act, the report says.
A review of transparency records published by Twitter to Lumen found that the company withheld 30 tweets and five user accounts from being visible to Indian users at MEITY’s request in February, the period for which the meeting took place. Lumen does not list any requests from the Indian government in February that it did not act on.
MEITY, MIB and Delhi Police officials were at the meeting, along with representatives from Facebook, WhatsApp, Google and TikTok, in addition to Twitter. “We have held some meetings and we need to take some measures now. There will be some fresh guidelines for them. We are in discussions and we might have to issue guidelines with stringent messages,” the report quoted a MEITY official as saying.
These remarks come as MEITY is close to publishing its Intermediary Liability (Amendment) Rules. These Rules could have huge ramifications for social media companies and increase their liability for user-generated content. The Rules may also force them to trace originators of messages, something WhatsApp has pushed back against.