In the year 2020, the deadly covid 19 pandemics brought a technological revolution in the world. The digital and social media were reborn as the people shifted from the real world to a virtual world. The digital space has become a new world by itself. Every human activity is performed through the internet be it shopping, learning, working as well as parties and events.
As the world shifted from the real to a digital world, regulation of social media platforms became even more important. As the pandemic arrived, the use of social media increased along with its users. India became the only country to put a foot forward in regulating the social media platforms with its new social media laws. In order to operate in India, the tech giants Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and LinkedIn are required to abide by the new IT laws set up by the Indian government.
The social media intermediaries should follow a set of guidelines when it comes to doing business in India. The new guidelines say that they should comply to take down any content posted on its platform if the government finds it unlawful. They should also assist the government in tracking down the originator of that unlawful content. The intermediaries should also set up a grievance redressal mechanism where the users are free to lodge a complaint against any unlawful activity taking place on the social media site.
The new laws aim to incorporate law and order in the digital space
Just like our cities, states and country, the digital space should also have law and order in place. Law and order are essential in a community to maintain discipline and accountability of the people. It also keeps a check on crime. The new laws would help in preventing the spread of fake news, sexually explicit content as well as violent, inciteful, abusive content. The government can ask the intermediaries to put down such content that can cause public disorder or harm the honor and reputation of an individual. Therefore, the social media platforms would be under check and deter people from misusing it.
The laws are meant to make social media platforms a safe and secure place to be in
Majority of the people in the country are on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. These platforms are highly populated with people of various age groups across the states. They are a community beyond geographic, cultural, socio-economical and political boundaries. People from all walks of life come together in a community like Facebook. In such a populated space security of each and every person is a major concern. Previously, people used to hesitate in posting pictures on these platforms in fear of their images getting morphed and distorted and misused unlawfully. The new laws are meant to cut down such fears. People can easily make a complaint if any such cyber crime takes place and their complains are meant to be heard and acted upon by the intermediaries.
Help in detecting cyber crimes
The grievance redressal mechanism would bring more illegal activities taking place in the cyber space to the notice of the government via the intermediaries. The complains of the people would help in understanding the nature and frequency of the crimes. More such illegal practices would come to the forefront which are not found out before. This is the first major step taken to fight cybercrimes in India.
Make the tech giants do responsible business in the country
Big tech companies like Facebook and Twitter are doing business in India for quite a long period of time. Till now they were mere intermediaries through which people expressed their thoughts and opinions and connected with people across the globe. However, with the increase in the ways the social medias are misused, the intermediaries should take up responsibility for what is happening on their platform. The new IT laws of India would facilitate them to be more than mere intermediaries and become responsible for the security and well-being of the people.
The laws are in place. Now it all comes down to its proper enforcement
A law cannot bear its effect and fulfill its objectives if it are not implemented properly. The responsibility of the government does not end with the passing of the laws. They are also responsible for their enforcement. The grievance officer, compliance officer and nodal officer should perform their duties with honesty and diligence. The government should never fail to keep a check on them.
The global nature of social media can act as a limitation to these new reforms
The IT laws are effective only in India. This contradicts the fact that social media platforms are global platforms. People from across the globe are connected through them. Indian laws have no way of stopping the people from other countries posting provocative, extremist and pornographic contents which could affect the people of our country. In my opinion, the IT laws should be declared as international laws and all the countries should follow them. The United Nations should look into this matter and create and operate social media laws with the consent of all the nations across the globe.