IT Ministry Asks Facebook, Twitter To Maintain Active Mobile Number Database

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Social media has grown into a vast platform where anyone could be anonymous. The spread of misinformation and fueling violence and abuse on social media sites has constantly increased. The IT ministry has now proposed that active mobile number database be maintained by social media companies for verification purposes.

IT Ministry Asks Social Media To Keep Active Mobile Number Database

 

Active Mobile Number Database On Social Media

A source reveals that a revised set of rules by the ministry could require Facebook, Twitter to maintain active mobile numbers. The idea is to trace out the anonymous users in the expanding social media space. The mobile number database could be part of the amendments to the present IT intermediary rules.

For this purpose, the Information Technology ministry will classify social media sites. Those having more than 50 lakh users in India will be termed as 'significant social media intermediaries'. With the new rules, this category will have stringent rules, including traceability of users, the source says.

New Rules For Social Media Companies

If the new rule is implemented, social media companies are required to conduct verification and maintain an active mobile number database of all the users, reports PTI. The source notes that the rules aim to distinguish between obligations and requirements of 'significant social media companies' as well as all other intermediaries and platforms.

"If you look at issues like traceability or anonymity on social media platforms, the problem is that it is largely confined to significant social media players and not all kinds of intermediaries," the source told PTI. The rules would also sync with the provisions in the Personal Data Protection Bill, where verification of social media users is mentioned, but voluntarily.

How Does It Affect?

Looking back, the original draft of the IT rules don't talk about a database of active mobile numbers. The original draft said that "intermediaries would be required to deploy technology-based automated tools for proactively identifying and removing or disabling public access to unlawful information or content..."

 

Analyzing deeper, the new changes proposed in the IT Intermediary Guidelines (Amendment) Rules are believed to help bring out the accountability of social media companies. It is also expected to reduce the spread of fake news, misinformation, and so on.

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