Briefing

Indian government will regulate social media content

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The new rules are designed to combat “the ever growing threats to individual rights and nation’s integrity, sovereignty, and security” from messages spread via online platforms, according to a submission from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to the country’s Supreme Court. The government said it had already consulted with companies and would finalize the regulations by Jan. 15, 2020. (Bloomberg Quint)

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Talking point: The Indian government has notable examples of harm from platform misuse —and a notably poor record on speech issues. WhatsApp-spread doctored photos and kidnapping rumours led mobs to murder more than two dozen outsiders in small towns and villages in 2017 and 2018. But Indian courts already have broad censorship powers, which government-linked corporate executives have used to block publications from reporting on them. The Internet Freedom Foundation, a local advocacy group, has called the Indian government’s past proposals attempts at censorship. New Delhi isn’t alone in reconsidering social media firms’ content responsibilities. In Canada’s federal election, both the Liberals and the NDP have promised rules requiring sites to quickly remove hate speech and extremist messages or face fines.