According to an industry study on Monday, social media companies have expressed strong opposition to the provision to hold senior compliance officers personally liable for failing to adhere to IT Rules as it may result in increased censorship by the platforms.
If the CCO fails to ensure that such intermediary performs due diligence, it will be held accountable in any action relating to any relevant third-party information, data, or communication link provided or hosted by the social media platform.
According to a joint analysis by The Dialogue and IAMAI, this provision may also erode India's reputation as a leading business destination and deter foreign investors from staying in the country to avoid the additional expense of recruiting and then ensuring the protection of their employees from possible disciplinary consequences.
The majority of intermediaries interviewed strongly oppose personal liability of the Chief Compliance Officer. According to the study, subjecting individual employees to criminal liability is both unnecessary and harmful.
As part of the study, the Dialogue and IAMAI interviewed a total of 82 stakeholders, including social media organizations and startups.
Personal liability for employees might result in increased censorship, where the threat to employee safety would force the platforms to always be cautious, thus potentially over censoring content, according to the research.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT has issued a draft amendment to the IT Rules of 2021, proposing to establish a panel that can overturn social media platforms' decisions. The ministry has invited submissions from stakeholders on the amendment by July 6.
The Dialogue's founding director said the study was made to assess the feedback received from the intermediaries. We will submit a submission to the government based on the feedback received from the intermediaries.