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Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp will be banned in India.

The Indian government has not issued any directives on banning these social media companies' operations in the country.

The Indian government has not issued any directives on banning these social media companies' operations in the country.On February 25, 2021, the Central government notified the social media intermediaries such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, and Amazon about the Information Technology (Guidelines for intermediaries and digital media ethics code) Rules, Hindustan Times reported.

According to the HT report, the center's new rules are framed under the Information Technology Act. Through these guidelines, the government has sought to place a stricter regulatory mechanism for the social media giants. The government had asked these firms to abide by the new rules within three months.

Under the guidelines, the streaming platforms have mandated a three-tier self-regulatory structure. The social media giants are told to increase due diligence and data sharing, such as information about the first originator with enforcement agencies. Significant social media intermediaries are platforms that have at least 50,000 users.

The 'significant social media intermediaries' have been told to appoint a compliance officer, who would be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and rules. He would be liable in any proceedings relating to any relevant third-party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted by that intermediary. They are also asked to appoint a nodal contact person for 24x7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and a Resident Grievance Officer. The order further states that "in case of emergencies, the authorized officers may examine digital media content and the Secretary, MIB may pass an interim direction for blocking of such content." However, the final order for blocking content will be passed only after the approval by the Inter-Departmental Committee.

According to an Indian Express report dated May 26, Facebook has said it would engage more with the government before eventually complying with the new rules. Even Google has agreed to comply, while Twitter declined to comment. The same day, a Reuters report said that WhatsApp had filed a case against the center, seeking to revoke the new regulations. According to the report, the messaging app was not ready to break its privacy protections.

The Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021, states that it protects social media companies and streaming services by making them intermediaries. Hence the intermediaries are in no way responsible for user content. But the companies that do not comply would lose the protection that intermediaries get under the IT Act. Those media platforms can be dragged into court and prosecuted using the applicable laws.

Therefore, companies that complied with the new IT rules would function with no interference from the government. But that may not hold for those who do not comply with the new regulations. There is a chance that such companies may face a ban in the country. However, we cannot state that these companies are indeed likely to get banned in the country. Therefore, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp will be banned in India is False.

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