Google, Facebook update website to comply with IT rules

Agencies
May 30, 2021

New Delhi, May 30: Large digital companies like Google and Facebook have begun updating their websites to reflect the appointment of the grievance officers under the new social media rules that came into effect recently.

According to government sources, large social media companies like Google, Facebook and WhatsApp have shared details with the IT Ministry as per the requirement of the new digital rules, but Twitter is still not following the norms.

The new rules require significant social media intermediaries – those with other 50 lakh users – to appoint a grievance officer, nodal officer and a chief compliance officer. These personnel are required to be resident in India.

Industry sources said Facebook and WhatsApp have already shared their compliance report with the Ministry of Electronics and IT, and that the details of the new grievance officers appointed are being updated to replace the existing information on these platforms.

Google’s ‘Contact Us’ page shows details of Joe Grier as a contact person with an address from Mountain View, US. The page also contains details on the grievance redressal mechanism for YouTube.

As per the rules, all intermediaries have to prominently publish on their website, app or both, the name of the grievance officer and his/her contact details as well as the mechanism by which a user or a victim may make a complaint.

The grievance officer will have to acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and dispose of such complaint within a period of 15 days from the date of its receipt; and receive and acknowledge any order, notice or direction issued by the authorities.

The government sources on Friday had said that Twitter is not following the norms.

Twitter has not sent details of the chief compliance officer to the IT Ministry, and shared details of a lawyer working in a law firm as a nodal contact person and grievance officer, they added.

This when the IT rules clearly require these designated officers of the significant social media platforms to be employees of the company and resident in India, they pointed out.

While Twitter did not respond to email queries on the issue, its website mentions Dharmendra Chatur as the ‘Resident Grievance Officer for India (Interim)’.

Google, Facebook and WhatsApp also did not respond to detailed email queries on the appointment of the personnel as required by the new IT rules.

The sources had earlier said that besides Google, Facebook and WhatsApp, other significant social media intermediaries like Koo, Sharechat, Telegram and LinkedIn too have shared details with the ministry as per the requirement of the IT norms.

Under the new rules, social media companies will have to take down flagged content within 36 hours, and remove within 24 hours content that is flagged for nudity, pornography etc.

The Centre has said the new rules are designed to prevent abuse and misuse of platforms, and offer users a robust forum for grievance redressal.

Non-compliance with the rules would result in these platforms losing the intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.

After the new norms came into effect on May 26, the IT Ministry had turned up the heat on significant social media companies, asking them to immediately report compliance and provide details of the three key officials appointed.

The new IT rules also require significant social media intermediaries – providing services primarily in the nature of messaging – to enable identification of the “first originator” of the information that undermines the sovereignty of India, the security of the state, or public order.

The large platforms have to also publish periodic compliance reports every month mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken thereon, and the number of specific communication links or parts of information that the intermediary has removed or disabled access to in pursuance of any proactive monitoring conducted by using automated tools or other reasons. 
 

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News Network
September 19,2021

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Mangaluru, Sept 19: A day after Hindu Mahasabha issued a veiled death threat against Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai over the demolition of a temple in Mysuru, the police have arrested the outfit’s Karnataka unit General Secretary Dharmendra. 

Addressing a press conference in Mangaluru Saturday, office-bearers of the Hindu Mahasabha accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of backstabbing Hindus, saying even “Mahatma Gandhi was not spared in a bid to protect Hindus”. 

“We didn’t spare Gandhi ji, what do you amount to then? If Gandhi ji could be assassinated to condemn atrocities on Hindus, do you think we won’t consider the same for you? Please remember it will become very difficult for you Basavaraj Bommai, B.S. Yediyurappa and Endowments minister Shashikala Jolle,” Dharmendra said.

Interestingly, soon after the press conference, Hindu Mahasabha state president Lohith Kumar had filed a complaint with the Barke police in the city against Dharmendra for misusing the outfit's name.

The police today confirmed the arrest of Dharmendra. However, the rest of the accused who were present at the press meet are yet to be apprehended.

Dharmendra, who had unsuccessfully contested on a Hindu Mahasabha ticket in 2018 assembly elections from Mangalore South constituency, was announcing a massive protest to be staged by the right wing outfit in Mysuru Wednesday condemning the demolition of the temple, before going on a tirade against the Karnataka government and leaders of the BJP.

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News Network
September 13,2021

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Bengaluru, Sept 13: Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah, State Congress president D K Shivakumar along with other party leaders arrived at Legislative Assembly on bullock carts, in protest against inflation, to participate in the Monsoon Session of the state legislature.

The 10-day-long session will be held from September 13 to 24 at Vidhana Soudha. 

The Congress, which recently held its legislature party meeting, chaired by its leader Siddaramaiah, to discuss the party's strategy during the session, has said it will raise the issues of price rise, deteriorating law and order situation and distressing financial position of the state, among others.

This is the first session of the Karnataka legislature after Basavaraj Bommai took charge as the Chief Minister and his new cabinet assumed office, following the exit of state BJP strong man B S Yediyurappa.

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Agencies
September 17,2021

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is having a difficult year. The economy is struggling after a brutal second wave of Covid-19, his popularity has dipped and a crucial state election looms. Now his ruling party has planned a mega birthday bash for him in “service of the nation.”

Starting Friday, when the prime minister turns 71, some 5 crore postcards will be mailed to him from citizens saying “thank you” for his concern for India’s poor, Om Prakash Dhurve, a secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said. There will be film screenings and exhibitions on his life, blood donation camps, cleanliness and vaccination drives, as part of the celebration billed as the “Service and Dedication Campaign” by the party’s youth wing. 

Environmental campaigns will clean 71 spots in various states. Local units of the BJP will organise prayer ceremonies and fairs in their areas with stalls set up to encourage people to download the NaMoApp, “which will help them communicate with the Hon’ble Prime Minister directly,” the party’s youth wing said.

“BJP is observing this as service and dedication campaign,” said Dhurve. “We want Modi to be become glorious and continuously serve the nation.” While Modi’s birthday is celebrated by the party every year, the scale of the extravaganza this time is a first. A spokesman of the prime minister office refused to comment.

The grand events come as Modi’s popularity has dipped to 24 per cent from 66 per cent a year ago, the lowest point since he came to power seven years ago, according to a Mood of the Nation survey published by the India Today media group in August. A sweeping second wave of coronavirus infections in April and May overwhelmed burial grounds and crematoriums and shuttered the economy.

His party lost a key state election in May and is looking to retain power in the politically significant state of Uttar Pradesh, which goes to the polls early next year. His home state of Gujarat will also have elections in late 2022.

“This is chiefly a strategy to mollify people’s anger on mismanagement of the Covid pandemic and winning assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh -- and restore Modi as a charismatic, dynamic leader,” said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a political analyst who has written a Modi biography. “The whole campaign is a blatant copy of the individualized-authoritarian model and also a great PR exercise.”

The celebrations are in stark contrast to the everyday reality of millions of Indians left jobless by the pandemic. 

More than a year after the first Covid-19 lockdown, the unemployment rate is still above pre-pandemic levels, with the manufacturing sector seen to have shed about 10 million jobs permanently and most new opportunities in services turning out to be low-paying gigs. That’s hardly a reason for cheer in an economy where private consumption makes up some 60% of gross domestic product.

Many economists see this as a recipe for a bumpy recovery. Although the latest quarterly headline growth numbers look good, GDP when adjusted for base effect, is much weaker than it was before the pandemic.

Congress panned the birthday events, with plans to mark September 17 as #NationalUnemploymentDay, the president of the party’s youth wing Srinivas B V said on Twitter. 

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