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Last Updated : Feb 14, 2020 12:37 PM IST | Source:

400 million social media users may have to reveal identity on govt request: Report

An earlier draft of a government proposal directs social media platforms to trace the origins of a request within 72 hours of a request.

Users of various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, TikTok, etc. will have to reveal their identities if the Indian government asks them to, Bloomberg has reported. This will be in line with a new set of rules, for social media companies and instant messaging apps, expected to be published later this month.

The requirement for users to reveal their identities comes when governments of nations across the world are trying to hold social media firms accountable for the content that goes out on their platforms, vis-à-vis fake news, child porn, and terrorism related content.

However, as per the report, India’s new guidelines will be tighter than most countries, requiring blanket cooperation with government inquiries, without the need of a warrant or judicial intervention.


In December 2018, India had proposed these guidelines and asked for comments on them from the public. The Internet and Mobile Association of India, a consortium which includes Facebook, Amazon and Google as its members, responded to the proposal saying the requirements "would be a violation of the right to privacy recognised by the Supreme Court".

Yet, a government official privy to the matter told the publication, that the IT Ministry will publish the new rules later this month without major changes.

An earlier draft of this proposal directs social media platforms to trace the origins of a request within 72 hours of a request. The companies would also have to preserve their records for 180 days in order to help government investigators.

The rules covered encompassed all social platforms. Of the 1.3 billion people in India, about 500 million are on the internet, the report has pointed out. However, it isn’t immediately clear if identities of foreign users would come under the government’s scrutiny. WhatsApp alone boasts of 400 million Indian users, whose privacy, the platform claims, will not be compromised.

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First Published on Feb 14, 2020 12:37 pm
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