Fake content on social media: Online platforms to remove content flagged as fake by the government

The government has suggested that social media moderators should remove any content flagged as “fake or false” by the fact-checking unit of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) or other central government-approved agency.

According to the proposed amendment, moderators should use reasonable efforts to induce a user not to host, display, upload, modify, transmit or post any message that has been “identified as false or false by the Fact-Checking Unit of the Press Information Office of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting or any other agency authorized by the Central Government to ascertain facts or, in connection with any Central Government business, by its department in which such business is transacted under the Business Rules.”

PIB, the government’s official communication arm, launched a fact-checking unit in November 2019.

The agency takes full notice of tweets and social media posts related to government schemes.

The agency also responds to citizens’ inquiries regarding claims and news related to government schemes.

In a late-night update of the draft IT rules on Wednesday, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology proposed the changes and asked stakeholders to respond to the proposal by January 25.

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The proposed change was made in a notice that also extended the deadline for receiving input on the draft online gaming rules. On Tuesday, the government also met with representatives of gaming companies and brokers and heard their feedback on draft online gaming rules.

But experts said the government should convene a meeting of stakeholders and discuss the issue separately.

“Misinformation and moderation in content is the thorny issue about Internet regulation today, by integrating it with discussions about online games, we are not giving it the attention and circulation it deserves,” Apparajita Bharti, founding partner at the public policy firm The Quantum Hub, said.

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