India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) recently held a “heated” meeting with representatives from Google, Twitter and Facebook, demanding stricter measures against the spread of fake news. The Big Tech companies would be inactive while removing the required content that is considered fake and demanding that they handle it in a better way.
India wants Big Tech to get tough on fake news
A report from Reuters suggests that the I&B official criticized Google, Twitter and Facebook for their measures to curb fake news and suggests that their “inaction” has forced the Indian government to remove such content, which in turn has drawn worldwide criticism for allegedly suppressing freedom of expression.
This recent meeting was also attended by Indian social media platforms ShareChat and Koo. This is a follow-up to an emergency measure taken by I&B in December and January that: 55 YouTube channels blocked and some Google and Twitter accounts. It was revealed that these accounts were the source of misinformation and anti-Indian sentiment.
The technology website Comparitech revealed that: India submitted 97,631 content takedown requests in 2020, which is the second largest after Russia.
While the Indian government has not issued an ultimatum to these tech giants, it still expects Google, Facebook and Twitter to review their internal guidelines on the same point and come up with tougher measures. In response, Big Tech claimed that they are taking adequate measures to curb fake news. Although the government officials eventually showed their disappointment in them.
The tech companies also suggested that the Indian government not make the removals of content public so as not to tarnish their image. However, this suggestion was rejected by stating that “takedowns also reveal that the companies were not doing enough to tackle fake news alone.”
Neither Google, Twitter, Facebook nor the government officials have commented on this. It remains to be seen what the outcome of this meeting will be and what all the new steps these tech companies will take to further tackle fake news. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!