New law to tame social media & influencers; fine upto Rs.50 Lakh
With the introduction of new framework for social media, hence forth the bossism of social media platforms, like Facebook, Insta and twitter, is all set to come to end.Hence forth, the media platform would not be able to declare any content unlawful, de-platforming of the users. The new framework will also come to rescue of thousands of already deleted accounts and users will be allowed to re-use it.The government stand on this issue is quite clear that at any cost an individual's liberty and freedom cannot be "waylaid" and the social media platforms must respect the fundamental rights of the citizens and conform to the Constitution of India.It further said that social media platforms should not take down the account itself or completely suspend it in all cases, and that de-platforming is against the spirit of Articles 14. 19 and 21 of the constitution.Stating that government is the custodian of the users' fundamental rights in cyberspace, the Union Government has said that a social media account can be suspended only in cases such as in the interest of the sovereignty, security, and intefrity of India, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order, or pursuant to a court order, of if the content is grossly unlawful, such as sexual abuse material etc.In another key development, the govt has also brought growing numbers of social media influencers under scanner. The government has decided to rein in paid promotion of products and services on social media platforms by 'influencers' by making it mandatory for them to put a disclaimer in the posts.Hence forth, they will be required to mention in their every post their association with the company and whether they were paid for such posts. A detailed guidelines about it will be issued soon by the ministry of consumer affairs.This is very significant, keeping in view the growing trend among brands to hop on social media for paid promotion through influencers and get them positive review.In the US, the Federal Trade Commission has enforced guidelines for social media influencers. Non compliance with the guidelines to be issued by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) may attract a Rs. 10 lakh fine for the first offence and can go up to Rs 50 lakh for subsequent violations.Similar penalties are provided in the Consumer Protection Act for celebrity endorsers. Penalty may vary for non-compliance and that may be linked to the number of followers of an influencer and the product they are promoting without adequate disclosures.It has been observed that influencers impact consumers' decision making without their knowledge that the influencers are getting paid for these posts. "People often take their recommendations on the face value.Thus, it is very important to make adequate disclosure so that people are aware of their interests in posting observations or opinions. Meanwhile, the ministry is also finalising the framework to check fake reviews both positive and negative on e-commerce platforms.
Dr. Ajay Kummar Pandey( LLM, MBA, (UK), PhD, AIMA, AFAI, PHD Chamber, ICTC, PCI, FCC, DFC, PPL, MNP, BNI, ICJ (UK), WP, (UK), MLE, Harvard Square, London, CT, Blair Singer Institute, (USA), Dip. in International Crime, Leiden University, the Netherlands )Advocate & Consultant, Supreme Court of India & High Courts4C Supreme Law International, Delhi, NCR. Mumbai & DubaiTel: M- 91- 9818320572. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org