Remove child sexual abuse material or face action: Centre warns X, YouTube, Telegram

The Ministry of Electronics and IT emphasises urgent CSAM removal and urges proactive steps, including content moderation algorithms and reporting mechanisms, to prevent future dissemination.

Representative image. (Photo: IANS)
Representative image. (Photo: IANS)


The Ministry of Electronics and IT on Friday, 6 October, issued notices to social media intermediaries X (formerly Twitter), YouTube, and Telegram, warning them to remove any kind of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) from their platforms on the Indian internet or face action.

The notices served to these platforms emphasise the importance of prompt and permanent removal or disabling of access to any CSAM on their platforms.

They also call for the implementation of proactive measures, such as content moderation algorithms and reporting mechanisms, to prevent the dissemination of CSAM in the future.

"We have sent notices to X, YouTube and Telegram to ensure there are no Child Sexual Abuse Material that exist on their platforms. The government is determined to build a safe and trusted internet under the IT rules," Union Minister of State for Electronics & IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.

"The rules under the IT Act lay down strict expectations from social media intermediaries that they should not allow criminal or harmful posts on their platforms. If they do not act swiftly, their safe harbour under section 79 of the IT Act would be withdrawn and consequences under the Indian law will follow,” the minister warned.

The notices from MeitY stated that non-compliance with these requirements will be deemed a breach of Rule 3(1)(b) and Rule 4(4) of the IT Rules, 2021. The ministry warned the three social media intermediaries that any delay in complying with the notices will result in the withdrawal of their safe harbor protection under Section 79 of the IT Act, which currently shields them from legal liability.

Chandrasekhar has been a vocal advocate for removing such harmful content from the Indian internet, ensuring this approach becomes the ministry's policy vision.

The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, provides the legal framework for addressing pornographic content, including CSAM. Sections 66E, 67, 67A, and 67B of the IT Act impose stringent penalties and fines for the online transmission of obscene or pornographic content.

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