Data protection bill may see social media firms lose safe harbour status - Hindustan Times

The change in the data protection bill will effectively make social media companies liable to be penalised for taking action against any content, whether pursuant with law, following government orders or in accordance with its terms of service, say experts.

The data protection bill, which is currently being reviewed by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC), may lead to social media companies losing their status as an intermediary, or protection from action for third party content, for “selecting, modifying, editing, blocking, muting, amplifying content or removing users from its platform”, if one of the changes proposed to its draft is accepted, people familiar with the matter said.

This will effectively make social media companies liable to be penalised for taking action against any content, whether pursuant with law, following government orders or in accordance with its terms of service, say experts.

The proposed move is to treat the companies as publishers instead of intermediaries. The data protection act, the proposals suggest, will supersede will the information technology act, section 79 of which provides intermediaries the protection from penal action for what users post, or third party content.

These are part of changes being considered by the JPC which is studying the personal data protection bill, sent to it for further deliberation after parliamentarians objected to the version introduced in parliament in 2019, the officials said.

The final report of the JPC...



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