Will Facebook, Twitter & Instagram Get Banned in India?

Social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may face a ban in India if they do not comply with the new Intermediary Guidelines.

In February 2021, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITy) had given a three-month time to the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to comply with the new IT rules.

As per the new rules announced by MEITy, social media platforms with a user base of more than 50 lakh, are required to appoint 3 officers who will have to be residents of India. These officers will be representatives of various government ministries. 


Social media platforms will have to appoint ‘Compliance Officers’ from India. The officer will overlook the complaints, monitor the content and remove it if it is objectionable. They will also have to appoint a ‘Grievance Redressal Officer’ who will take care of the complaints and act on them in 15 days. A ‘Nodal Contact Person’ will also have to be appointed. This officer will coordinate with the police over serious matters. 


Other than this, social media platforms have to track a message’s originator if the government or a court asks them to. They will have to take down posts depicting nudity or morphed photos within 24 hours of receiving a complaint. Such rules are not only applicable to social media platforms but also to OTT platforms. The streaming platforms include Netflix, Amazon Prime and others. The government announced these guidelines because they feel that social media platforms do not have a code of self-regulation. Therefore, it wants the companies to include representatives from the various government ministries and form a committee to regulate the content on social media and OTT platforms. The new rules also mention that the committee will have the sole power to take actions on complaints of the violation of codes.


The deadline to accept the guidelines set by the government ended on May 25 but so far none of the platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter has complied with the new regulations yet. The Indian version of Twitter, Koo, is the only social media app that has complied with the new guidelines. 


Currently in India, social media companies are given special protection. If a complaint is filed on an objectionable post on a social media platform, the complaint can only be filed against the person who made the post and not the SM company. Since the deadline is up and companies still haven’t complied with the new guidelines the platform may get banned or they lose their immunity. 


US-based social media companies had asked for six months time as they are waiting for a response from the US headquarters. While the government calls the new rules transparent and those needed to increase accountability, social media platforms have resisted the changes saying the need for "free speech" and “fair communication”. Social media companies & OTT platforms are likely to ask for an extension to discuss the guidelines further.