The government may soon hold social media platforms accountable for all non-user generated content, including sponsored posts, The Economic Times reported.
The government is planning to insert a clause to Section 79-II of the Information Technology Act, 2000. The law currently exempts social media platforms from liability for any third-party content.
Once the new clause is added, companies will be required to tag and identify all sponsored content published on their platforms.
“Onus of non-user generated content will now fall on social media platforms,” the article quotes a senior government official as saying.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the story.
Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram do typically tag and specify sponsored content and paid partnerships, but are not legally bound to do so.
Social media platforms will no longer be able to ‘take refuge’ under the ‘safe harbour protection’ harbour clause of the IT Act, officials told the paper.
Under the news clause, ‘safe harbour protection’ will be provided only if the companies are a facilitator for the content, but not if they have created or modified the content in any way.
Brands often market their products through celebrities and brands to make it look more organic. But celebrities and influencers are also not legally bound to specify paid content.
The new clause will not apply to influencers on social media platforms, the report said.
The draft norms are under consideration and are expected to be notified in a few weeks, the official cited earlier told the paper.
The guidelines are likely to be notified by February-end or beginning of March, the report said.