Policies around social media are welcome: Koo co-founder Mayank Bidawatka

Mayank Bidawatka, co founder of Koo, Twitter’s Indian rival, which is being preferred by government officials and ministers following Twitter’s standoff with the government over posts linked to farmer protests, said policies around social media are welcome because they make some of the nebulous things around what’s acceptable and what’s not ‘legally known’ and ‘enforced.’
“This reduces the vagueness around clear actions that need to be taken by platforms,” he added.

Bidawatka was responding to news reports around possible changes in the IT rules which may mandate social media companies to take down ‘unlawful’ posts in 36 hours against the stipulated 72 hours besides mandating a company with over 50 lakh users to have an Indian office and appointing a nodal officer for liaising with law enforcement agencies.

“Koo will respect the laws of the land. We understand the importance of freedom of speech and at the same time we also understand the need to operate within the legal boundaries of our country of operation,” he said.

The -News24Nation reported on Friday that according to the proposed amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules 2011, that are notified under section 79 of the IT Act, the government wants the social media companies to be more responsive in handling requests regarding the removal of unlawful content. According to the report, which cited sources, the new rules would supercede the 2011 rules and would make it contingent upon IT intermediaries to remove malicious content within 36 hours of receiving a court order or when notified by the government. The report also stated the new rules would put an obligation on intermediaries to periodically inform their users for compliance of rules and regulations and also for following users’ agreement and privacy policy.

“It’s very important to foster freedom of speech in a democratic nation like ours and no policy should curb that right and hurt 99.9% of the innocent citizens to protect themselves from the 0.1% of those with ill intentions. I’m sure the policy makers will keep this in mind,” Bidawatka added.

The government’s standoff with social media platforms such as Twitter had intensified following the Republic Day violence linked to farmer protests in Delhi and Twitter’s refusal to comply with government orders to remove allegedly provocative content and posts linked to farmer genocide.