Google, Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies to join hands to curb fake news in India

Google, Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies to join hands to curb fake news in India
  • Social media companies have proposed the formation of Information Trust Alliance (ITA).
  • The ITA intends to curb fake news and hate speech on online platforms in India.
The Indian government is working on regulations to censor content to stop the spread of fake news. In the meanwhile, social media platforms which have been facing the flak for it - are also coming together to fight fake news.

Facebook, Google, Twitter, ByteDance, ShareChat and YY Inc will be part of the proposed Information Trust Alliance (ITA) to counter fake news. In addition to the digital platforms, the alliance will also include fact checkers, civil society and academia.

As per a report by ET, the alliance will work on controlling the spread of harmful content like be it hate speeches or even fake news. The report revealed that the social media platforms have held discussions with the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

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The ITA intends to work with academia to run public awareness campaigns in schools, colleges and universities and conduct workshops for content creators.

‘Code of Practice’

As per the above report, the companies have discussed the creation of a ‘Code of Practice’ that will allow the companies to implement a centralised complaint registration mechanism and a standardised redressal process for disputed content. For settling disputes, the code also proposes an arbitration mechanism.

An internal IAMAI note adds that there has been no unanimity on the ‘Code of Practice’ as there is a need for “greater deliberation given the different practices followed by various platforms”. While Facebook has been pushing for a self-regulatory mechanism, Google, Twitter and ShareChat have not agreed to this.

New guidelines underway

The government is already working on formulating new guidelines to regulate social media. The amendments to intermediary guidelines of the IT Act are expected to change the way social media companies monitor and take down content at the request of the government.

In September 2019, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology suggested that social media companies should remove illegal content within 24 hours of a request and provide information about the source of the message within 72 hours.

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