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Threshold for Significant Social Media Intermediaries set at 5 million registered Indian users

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The government has notified the threshold for Significant Social Media Intermediaries at 5 million registered users in India. The government issued a notification in the Gazette to this effect on Friday evening. Large social media companies essentially have three months to comply with the requirements specified on them in the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 notified the previous day.

The Rules, 2021 that were notified on Thursday had made the distinction between “Social Media Intermediaries” and “Significant Social Media Intermediaries”, the latter of which is subject to multiple additional compliance requirements. These additional compliances include the need to enable traceability of originators on their platforms, appoints 24X7 nodal officers and deploy automated tools that can take down content proactively.

However, the threshold for Significant Social Media Intermediaries was not defined in the Rules, and was to be notified by the government. Once notified, such companies would get three months to comply with the additional due diligence prescribed to them. This notification immediately affects companies such as Facebook (410 million users in India), WhatsApp (530 million), YouTube (448 million), Instagram (210 million), Twitter (17.5 million) and likely several others.

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