Union Minister of State for Information and Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, has declared that social media platforms will no longer receive a "free pass" and must be held accountable on the global stage.
In an interview with NDTV, he stressed the need to address the negative aspects of these platforms, which have often overshadowed their positive contributions.
This statement comes in the wake of a lawsuit against Meta, Facebook's parent company, filed by over 40 US states.
As the minister responsible for Information and Technology, Chandrasekhar emphasised the importance of stringent accountability moving forward.
Meta is currently facing a federal lawsuit in the US, alleging that the company is "exploiting" young users through a business model that prioritises maximising their time spent on the platform, potentially at the expense of their mental well-being.
The complaint reveals that studies have indicated a link between the use of Meta's social media platforms by young individuals and various adverse effects, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, disruption of education and daily activities, and other negative outcomes.
Chandrasekhar emphasised that social media platforms have enjoyed a long period of leniency from the world, particularly in the US, and the time has come to reassess this situation.
He emphasised that these platforms must assume greater responsibility and be held accountable for the content they host. The era of providing them with a free pass and immunity is drawing to a close, and the Indian government shares this sentiment.
Regarding the Indian government's approach to safeguarding its citizens, Chandrasekhar emphasised that all platforms are expected to adhere to the rules.
Platforms are served notices under the IT rules, and non-compliance will result in legal consequences. A zero-tolerance policy will be enforced to ensure compliance.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, faced heightened scrutiny from US investigators following the exposure of internal documents by whistleblower Frances Haugen.
These documents raised concerns that the social media company prioritised profit over the safety of its users, leading to widespread criticism.
Facebook allegedly struggled to control harmful content and lacked credibility in its ability to institute reforms.
The company expressed its disappointment with the lawsuit, highlighting that states did not collaborate with social media companies to establish age-appropriate standards.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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