How Quickly Can Facebook, Google, and Twitter Remove Content? 36 Hours or Less?

March 3, 2021

I read “Social Media Sites Must Remove Content in 36 Hours of Order: Govt in Draft Digital, OTT Platform Rules.” The rules will be imposed by India. According to the article in News 18 India:

The central government has finalized the rules to regulate internet-based businesses and organizations – social media companies, OTT streaming services, and digital news outlets, among others – as it plans to introduce a sea change in legislation to assert more control over powerful Big Tech firms. Under the new Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, the government plans to mandate social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to erase contentious content as early as possible, but not later than 36 hours, after a government or legal order.

Pretty clear. India sends an email; the recipient has 36 hours; then the fines begin.

Twitter, headed by a very talented, articulate, and handsome wizard, is allegedly the cause of this decision. Hey, tweet in real time, no problem. Fail to deal with flagged content, big problem.

Sucked into the “go where the money is” process, the inability to move in a sprightly manner could be expensive.

What’s next?

You know those weird motion picture ratings which lured under age limit viewers like roasting burgers in the park on a hot summer day? Ratings, yes. The Indian government wants tags on videos:

While the new rules for social media and other digital platforms will be governed by the IT Ministry, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry will be the governing body for rules concerning streaming platforms. Referring to films and other entertainment, including web-based serials, the draft rules called for a “classification rating” to describe content and advise discretion.

That will allow the Google to demonstrate its ability to do more than create financial hardship for content creators. How long does it take for Google to remove my video interview of Robert David Steele? Answer: About two years. The 36 hour ceiling is obviously going to be no problem for the Googlers.

Like Facebook’s massive victory over Australia, the social media giants will have no difficulty in dealing with another pesky nation state.

Stephen E Arnold, March 3, 2021


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