Social media apps such as WhatsApp and TikTok have been attracting lot of criticism for spreading misinformation. Despite efforts by these companies, the practice of mass spreading of miscommunication and fake news is still a problem for Indian society. To check the spread of misinformation on its platform, WhatsApp recently put a limit on the sharing of frequently forwarded messages to only one chat at a time.
As per new ET report, the government is in the final stages of notifying an amendment to the intermediary guidelines of the Information Technology Act (IT) 2000, which make social media firms in India responsible for the content on their platforms. According to two senior government officials, the law ministry has made minimal changes to draft amendments finalised by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and the guidelines are awaiting final approval.
“Notifying the guidelines is the only way to deal with the current situation where content is being created on one platform – like Tik-Tok — and being circulated on other social media like WhatsApp, with companies not able to control it citing end-to-end encryption,” said a government official on anonymity.
Once the guidelines are in place, companies will have to ensure that if unlawful content is going viral on their platforms, others should also take steps to remove it, the official added.
The move came at a time when misinformation around Covid-19 has been spreading fast. Recently, Bytedance-owned TikTok also faced some heat from users and the media for videos that emphasised that a particular religion can’t be affected by the deadly virus.