The Content Monitoring Responsibility on Social Media Should be on the Platforms!

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  • As you are aware, unlike print and television media, the onus of monitoring the content on the increasingly ubiquitous social media platforms was not clearly defined. Over the last few years, social media platforms have grown exponentially on the back of the revolutionary evolution of information technology-driven digital content.  The word digitalization has assumed tremendous traction and acceptance around the world in the last two years, especially aftermath of the pandemic.  As is the case with anything new being introduced, the content made available on social media platforms acts as a double-edged sword.  Quick and easy dissemination of information is a boon but unregulated/unverified/inauthentic circulation is also a bane.

PC:

  • As such, authorities around the world were concerned about the negative impact of unregulated information inciting social disturbances and disharmony leading to a law and order situation. As reported widely, Indian Union Government too was in the thick of the action to bring along social media platforms under the rule of the law of the land.  Now, after a year of handing out excuses for not doing enough to clamp down on fake news has ended badly for social media platforms.  The Union Government last week amended rules introduced last year to nudge these platforms to take responsibility for content moderation.  The amendments enhance the platforms’ responsibility.  It’s no longer enough to advise users to follow guidelines.  What is it then?
  • From now on, they are mandated to make reasonable efforts to prevent the transmission of information that is fake or misleading. In short, it’s now obligatory on the part of social media platforms to ensure they are not the medium for the spread of fake news, and rightly so.  Note that the traditional media is regulated, it also subjects itself to self-regulation and gatekeeping.  Social media must take responsibility as well.  Mind you, the consequence of unchecked transmission of fake news is potentially lasting damage to the social fabric.  The push towards ending immunity for content hosted on social media platforms is global.  This April, the European Parliament, and EU member states reached an agreement on the proposed Digital Services Act.

PC: Audit-Security

  • The legislation allows users to flag problematic content and platforms are obliged to cooperate with them. These regulatory changes are overdue.  Indeed, whistleblower accounts show that social media platforms create algorithms that push incendiary content.  Thus, these revelations discredit platforms’ claims that they are neutral.  Far from it as their business model tilts towards designing algorithms that favour conspiracies.  Two important change in last week’s amendments is a requirement that platforms explain the rules in more Indian languages and arming the Union Government with the power to create a new body i.e. Grievance Appellate Committee.  In conclusion, it can be confidently mentioned that the amendments are in the right direction.

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Krishna MV
Krishna is a Post Graduate with specialization in English Literature and Human Resource Management, respectively. Having served the Indian Air Force with distinction for 16 years, Armed Forces background definitely played a very major role in shaping as to who & what he is right now. Presently, he is employed as The Administrator of a well known educational institute in Bangalore. He is passionate about sharing thoughts by writing articles on the current affairs / topics with insightful dissection and offering counter / alternate views thrown in for good measure. Also, passionate about Cricket, Music – especially vintage Kannada & Hindi film songs, reading – non-fictional & Self-Help Books, and of course, fitness without compromising on the culinary pleasures.