India Could Create New Regulatory Body for Social Media

India data protection

A parliamentary panel in India says social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter should be considered publishers and get their own regulatory body.

As Bloomberg reported, the panel made this recommendation during a review of a 2019 data protection bill designed to guard user privacy and impose more controls on how companies like Google and Amazon collect, store and process data.

Sources told Bloomberg the panel wants tougher rules because current legislation hasn’t gone far enough and the existing provisions in the data protection bill are too broad.

The legislation could also hold social media company accountable for content posted by unverified accounts. India’s parliament was due to receive recommendations from the panel Monday (Nov. 29), Bloomberg said.

If the recommendations are adopted, it could have a serious impact on how private and public companies operate in India, the largest social media market on the planet. It would also mirror other legislation being considered around the world.

As PYMNTS reported in October, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun querying Facebook, Amazon and Google on how they collect, use and store user data.

Read more: CFPB Expected To Query Tech Giants Over Financial Data Handling

And over the weekend, the European Parliament Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) voted to approve the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which creates stricter rules governing social media platforms.

These new regulations require social media companies — or any platform with more than 45 end users each month — to be more accountable for unfair business practices. The act also curbs data collection on minors and forbids using data or commercial purposes.

See: Digital Market Act Clears Hurdle, Would Set Restrictions on Social Media Platforms

But in India, social media giants have held “safe harbor” status, protected against punitive measures over user-generated content as long as they follow guidelines such as establishing offices in India, naming compliances officials and meeting government requests to remove content deemed harmful.