BENGALURU: The new rules for social media have opened pandora’s box. Tuesday – the deadline for social media platforms to comply with rules on making messages on social media traceable has set the stage for some uncertainty. While the government says it is being done to cub mischief, critics say traceability only be done at the expense of privacy. The views of the city’s residents reflect the many sides to this conversation. Mass communication student Meghna Bose thinks that for many businesses, social media are crucial for visibility, but says such platforms are also important for public debate.
“They give us the space to express solidarity on social issues and movements. If the new laws intend to work against them and also at the cost of privacy, it becomes dangerous,” she says. City-based technologist Chandrashekar says social media giants must be held accountable.
“They must comply with the law of the land. The government is just asking them to identify the instigators of unlawful content by tracing the originator of the message.” Musician Behram Siganporia pointed out that in the current atmosphere, social media are crucial to the survival of many businesses, but added, “All of us have a right to privacy and freedom of expression. It’s one thing to invade someone’s privacy and another thing to trace the start of a rumour / spread of misinformation or harmful information.”
IPS officer and cybersecurity expert Sanjay Sahay says, “The law is aimed only at content that has a criminal angle or is a matter of intelligence. Social media giants have gained control over us for years now. Now, it is important that the government introduces new codes to make social media accountable.” Eighteen-year-old student Disha Panda however, points out that tracing people and looking at who they are talking to invades their privacy. “It’s our right to put forward opinions about the ministry and social issues,” she says. In her opinion, better laws are the key.
“Issues regarding language, wrong news, objectification etc, should be looked into. Companies need to have stronger cyber security cells which look into reported problems and make platforms a safer place.” However, technology lawyer and founder of sflc.in, Mishi Choudhary says the rules grant several government authorities the ability to restrict content or be provided access to user data.
“Companies need to be regulated. But the current rules are trying to control everything a citizen does online… what videos they watch on streaming platforms, what news they access or what they speak on social media. The rules should be stayed. The government must go back to the drawing board to come up with regulations befitting a democracy like India and a market which has the potential to take over Silicon Valley.”