Prasad, Telecom Information, ET Telecom

New Delhi: Trade union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Thursday that the government has no problem with the use of social media, but with the abuse and abuse of the platforms. The minister said the government is the voice of those who fall victim to social media and that platforms should put in place mechanisms to resolve complaints in the country.

“You need to have complaint resolution mechanisms in place so that when someone has a complaint that complaint can be registered. The problem is not social media use. The problem is abuse and abuse of social media,” said Prasad at India Economic Conclave.

The minister said the government is not against criticism.

“The prime minister has been the biggest victim of the campaign of falsehood based on outright lies for more than 20 years … We welcome dissent. We welcome criticism, and that criticism can extend to the prime minister, all ministers and all government,” Prasad said .

The minister answered questions about social media rules and recent government regulations.

The government announced comprehensive regulations in February for social media companies like Facebook and Twitter, as well as OTT players like Netflix. They asked them to remove all the authorities flagged content within 36 hours and put in place a complaint resolution mechanism with an official working in the country.

The guidelines also stipulate that platforms such as Twitter and WhatsApp must identify the originator of a message that is viewed by the authorities as anti-national and against the security and sovereignty of the country.

The rules for digital media and OTT focus more on internal mechanisms and self-regulatory mechanisms, where a robust mechanism for resolving complaints has been provided while preserving journalistic and creative freedom.

This is the first time such rules have been established for digital and online media operating in the country’s jurisdiction.

The minister said the rules were finalized after a year and a half of public consultation.

He said the government wants to know about rogue elements on social media platforms.

“Let me ask you a question. Isn’t it a fact that on the same topic on the same day in the same area at the same time lakhs of news go viral. We ask who did this mischief. Who started this ? Nonsense?

“That’s all. We won’t see the content. The content is already in the public domain. We want to see who wreaked havoc in India. If someone broadcast from abroad, who started it in India,” said Prasad.

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