According to a report by Economic Times, an unnamed government official told the publication that the content takedown rules will only apply to major firms. However, the report doesn’t specify what’s the definition of a ‘major firm,’ in the context of the upcoming rules.
“The rules are meant only for social media content and, therefore, other eCommerce or streaming technology firms such as Amazon and Netflix must not worry about the content takedown, traceability, and grievance officer,” the official told the Economic Times.
India’s current IT Act 2000 exempts any online entity from liability for content posted by users on their platforms. This sub-section in existing rules has allowed companies like Google and Facebook to grow exponentially in the country and enjoy “safe harbor.”
However, in a draft of proposed rules released in 2018, authorities sought to change this scenario and hold social media platforms liable for sensitive content published by users. Plus, these rules also categorize any digital entity with more than five million users as intermediaries. With over 627 million internet users in India, it’s not a very tough number to achieve even for a small company or an independent developer.
Earlier this week, open-source companies including GitHub and Mozilla appealed to the government to scale back on its monitoring and traceability demands defined in the 2018 draft.
The government is set to present the new set of rules to the apex Supreme court next week on January 15.