The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued an advisory, asking social media intermediaries to take steps to identify misinformation and deepfakes. The intermediaries have been urged to remove such content within 36 hours of the matter being reported.
In a press release dated November 7, 2023, the Ministry reiterated that significant social media intermediaries are required to comply with the provisions of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. As per these rules, the intermediaries have to adhere to the prescribed due diligence requirements. Further, the rules call for prompt action on the part of intermediaries in case of publication of information that impersonates another person, is defamatory, infringes upon intellectual property rights, etc. The users have to be informed that such information should not be hosted or published by them and that the intermediary is empowered to terminate their access or usage rights to the computer resource or remove non-compliant information or both.
On failure to comply with the provisions of the 2021 rules, the intermediary will not only stand to lose the exemption from liability (for third-party information, data or communication link made available or hosted by him), as provided under Section 79(1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, but will also be liable to punishment under the 2000 Act, the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and any other law for the time being in force. The same is in accordance with Rule 7 of the 2021 rules.