The ministry of electronics and IT issued notices to social media platforms X, YouTube, and Teleram, directing them to immediately remove child sexual abuse material (CSAM) from their platforms in India.
The notices served to these platforms emphasised that the CSAM should be removed promptly and permanently and access to any such materials on these platforms should be disabled. The Centre further directed them to implement proactive measures such as content moderation algorithms and reporting mechanisms, to stop the the spread of CSAM in the future.
The notices from the ministry stated that non-compliance with these requirements will be deemed a breach of Rule 3(1)(b) and Rule 4(4) of the IT Rules, 2021.
The ministry warned that any delay in complying with the notices will result in the withdrawal of their safe harbor protection under Section 79 of the IT Act, which currently shields them from legal liability.
“We have sent notices to X, YouTube and Telegram to ensure there are no child sexual abuse material that exist on their platforms. The government is determined to build a safe and trusted internet under the IT rules. The IT rules under the IT Act lays down strict expectations from social media intermediaries that they should not allow criminal or harmful posts on their platforms. If they do not act swiftly, their safe harbour under section 79 of the IT Act would be withdrawn and consequences under the Indian law will follow,” Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.
The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, provides the legal framework for addressing pornographic content, including CSAM. Sections 66E, 67, 67A, and 67B of the IT Act impose stringent penalties and fines for the online transmission of obscene or pornographic content.