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India will finalise rules to regulate social media by January 15

The Union Government told the Supreme Court today that it would finalise rules to regulate hate speech, fake news, defamatory posts and anti-national activities on social media by 15th January.

The Supreme Court also transferred all the cases pending at the Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh High Courts concerning a demand to link Aadhaar and sharing of decrypted data of social media profiles, to itself.

Facebook and Whatsapp sought he transfer of the cases to the Supreme Court since they could have a bearing on national security.

The new rules would revise existing rules of 2011 to regulate intermediaries social media apps and others that rely on users to create their content that cause “unimaginable disruption” to democracy, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said at the apex court.

The government said that the internet is an “ever growing threats to individual rights and nation’s integrity, sovereignty and security.”

Tamil Nadu Government had resisted the social media companies’ attempt to get the cases transferred to the top court. The lawyer representing Tamil Nadu Government said WhatsApp and Facebook should decrypt any information that the government wants for analysis.

“WhatsApp and Facebook after coming to India can’t say they can’t decrypt information,” their lawyer said.

Facebook  argued that meeting such demands would require breaking the end-to-end encryption that users enjoy globally. The company added that taking away the encryption would compromise the safety and privacy of its users.

India is the biggest market for social media companies with over 400 million users.

The Supreme Court will hear all social media cases in the last week of January.