BJP MP Tejasvi Surya said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that unconstitutional guidelines should be repealed and new ones to govern social media platforms be issued, thereby protecting the fundamental right to free speech of citizens and protecting “our democracy from foreign interference”.
Amid a raging debate on how social media platforms are working in a biased manner and the way in which the issue of Facebook had become a debating point between the BJP and Congress in the committee for information and technology, headed by Shashi Tharoor, the MP from Karnataka raised the matter in the Zero Hour on the last day of the monsoon session of Parliament.
"For a long time, there are many credible allegations made against Twitter, FB and their affiliates regarding arbitrary and unilateral regulation and censuring of content posted by third party users, especially those with a nationalistic approach. This poses a significant constitutional challenge not only on the grounds of unreasonable restriction of free speech but also amounts to illegal interference during elections," the Bangalore South MP said in the Lok Sabha.
"Facebook, Twitter and similar platforms claim themselves to be intermediaries within the meaning of the term under the IT Act, 2000. The key element of this definition is that the role of the said intermediaries is limited to processing, storing and transmitting data of third party users and does not include intervention on content of the users. Therefore, Section 79 of the Act provides these intermediaries exemption from liability. An intermediary receives protection that a regular publisher does not receive," Surya further said.