Content considered ‘false’ by the government may be banned on social media

The central government is considering not allowing the uploading of any information on social media which it considers to be false. This is included in the draft of the new IT rules released this week. This may be included in the measures taken by the government to rein in the big tech companies.

Reuters’s Report As per the draft, any information declared to be ‘fake’ or ‘false’ by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) or any agency authorized to fact-check on behalf of the government or any of its departments, would be banned under the draft. will be given. Social media platforms or other online intermediaries shall make reasonable efforts to prevent users from uploading, changing, retaining or publishing such information. In October last year, the government had announced setting up of a panel to hear user grievances over content moderation decisions of social media firms.

Social media companies have to have Grievance Redressal Officers for such complaints. There have also been several disputes between social media platforms and the government over the removal of content or accounts that allegedly spread misinformation. The government last month launched the video streaming platform YouTube Asked to block three channels spreading fake news and making false claims. These three channels were told by the Fact Check Unit of Press Information Bureau (PIB) to spread fake news related to government institutions.

YouTube was asked to remove Aaj Tak Live, News Headlines and Sarkari Updates. Along with this it was clarified that Aaj Tak Live has no association with India Today Group. These channels were using thumbnails of TV news channels and images of their anchors to mislead people and spread fake news. PIB’s Fact Check handle tweeted, “A YouTube channel ‘News Headlines’ is spreading fake news against the Prime Minister, Supreme Court, Chief Justice of the country and the Election Commission.” This YouTube channel was accused of spreading fake news about “conducting elections through ballot papers after the order of the Chief Justice of the country” and re-elections to 131 seats in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

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