According to two senior government officials, the law ministry has made minimal changes to draft amendments finalised by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and the guidelines are awaiting final approval.
“Notifying the guidelines is the only way to deal with the current situation where content is being created on one platform – like Tik-Tok — and being circulated on other social media like WhatsApp, with companies not able to control it citing end-to-end encryption,” said a government official.
Once the guidelines are in place, companies will have to ensure that if unlawful content is going viral on their platforms, others should also take steps to remove it, the official added. “Companies like TikTok and Facebook need to deploy better techniques and put more investment into content moderators to proactively and immediately remove such content. Platforms like WhatsApp can’t give endto-end encryption as an excuse for not removing such content,” the official said.
TikTok and Helo did not respond to queries seeking comment on the intermediary guidelines. A Facebook spokesperson said: “We are taking aggressive steps to stop misinformation and harmful content from spreading on our platforms”.