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Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw tells The Indian Express that the government aims to establish a consensus on implementing stricter guidelines for social media.

In Parliament, you mentioned being open to stricter guidelines for social media. Can you clarify your stance? Are you seeking more transparency from platforms regarding their handling of controversial issues?

As society increasingly engages with social media, there is a growing call for more accountability worldwide, as it impacts our children and family members. Should there be a more self-regulatory system with higher social media accountability? That is the question.

Our government’s position is to seek consensus to strike a balance between freedom of expression and social media accountability.

Social media companies need to develop their own processes for removing harmful content and users also need to take more responsibility. This shared responsibility is crucial.

Are there plans to formalize the review process for social media companies?

Interactions between the ministry, officials, and social media platforms occur regularly at various levels. It’s a structured process based on specific requirements.

Meta, in a recent filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, highlighted potential increased costs due to Indian privacy laws requiring local content storage. Has the ministry discussed this?

The data protection Bill has been extensively discussed by a wide range of stakeholders and a joint parliamentary committee has made recommendations. We will follow the consultation process and make decisions that are in the best interest of the country.

How do you plan to address concerns about the current form of the data protection Bill, which aims to regulate data use and establish a privacy protection framework?

With Parliament in session and the Bill yet to be discussed, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on it. The committee’s report is a vital input, and I should refrain from commenting until the proper process has been followed.

How will you ensure collaboration between states and the Centre to regulate social media companies?

In our constitutional structure, law and order are the responsibility of the states. State governments have taken action based on the information provided to them.

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