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This article is written by Leela Madhuri, pursuing a Diploma in Cyber Law, Fintech Regulations and Technology Contracts from LawSikho.            


The live streaming on social media happens on apps like youtube, Instagram, Facebook, etc. The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) or IT Rules, 2021 (the “Intermediary Rules”) change the way the internet will be experienced in India. They ruined privacy and free expression as users of the Internet in India. The government on 25th February inform about the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) rules or IT Rules, 2021 at a press conference with the presence of Prakash Javedkar (minister of information and broadcasting) and Ravi Shanker prasad (minister of electronics and information technology) to control over the social media, digital media and OTT platform.

As part of new rules to regulate social media content, the government will ask the platform to reveal the originator of a message (or tweet). Information technology (IT) rules help people in restricting the bad content and help people to gain their knowledge through social media. 

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Rule 2(v) defines a significant social media intermediary as one is above a certain threshold that may be notified by the central government.  

What is the structure of intermediary rules?

Here in these intermediary rules, the structure is unique. Part I of the Intermediary Rules mainly depends upon the definitions of terms. whereas Part II and Part III contain the actual standard and requirements. Part II deals with the regulation of intermediaries, including social media intermediaries. Social media intermediaries include messaging-related intermediaries, such as WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram, and media-related intermediaries, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This part II is managed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology or (MEITY).

Part III deals with the regulation of digital news media (though there is a lack of clarity on exactly which news media these Rules apply to) and OTT platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney + Hot star. Part III is administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The government has introduced a three-tier regulatory framework for addressing grievances. The three-tier structure is under (Level I) Self-regulation by the applicable entity, (Level II) Self-regulation by the self-regulating bodies of the applicable entities, and (Level III) Oversight mechanism by the Central Government.

Why were these rules introduced?

These IT (information technology) rules were introduced because intermediaries like Netflix, Amazon prime, WhatsApp, Facebook, Youtube, etc., are showing a very large impact on citizens either in good or bad ways. Mostly there are showing impact in a bad way than a good way because of bad and sensitive content. because bad content will affect the people more than good content. If these new IT rules were made then the government can warn them if the concept has any bad impacts which affect citizens.

The following are some of the concepts or topics which must not be present in the social medial apps. the live streaming content on social media must not follow these topics or it may affect the public by giving them knowledge on bad content.

Content like: defamatory, pornographic, paedophilic, invasive of another’s privacy, insulting or harassing based on gender, slandering others, relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling,  Which are harmful to minors, infringes any patent, trademark, copyright, or other proprietary rights, violates any law for the time being in force, Imitate another person, defense, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order, investigation of any offense or is insulting any foreign States,  contains a software virus or any other computer code, file or program designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer resource,  is patently false and untrue and is written or published in any form, with the intent to mislead or harass a person, cause any injury to any person, etc must not be mentioned or seen on the live streaming of social media.

Some very unpleasant improvements are observed on social media platforms. and the Determined spread of fake news has forced many media platforms to create fact-check devices. Without checking and posting or spreading fake news may affect one’s life. Misuse of social media for ending the wrong manner has become a major concern for businesses. Instances of use of abusive language, defamatory and obscene contents, and blatant disrespect to religious sentiments through platforms are growing. So, to control these types of impacts IT rules has to change.

Over the years, the increasing instances of misuse of social media by criminals, anti-national elements have brought new challenges for law enforcement agencies. scams, frauds, cheatings, etc are increasing nowadays using these types of social media apps. So, to prevent these types of problems IT (information technology) rules 2021 have been applied. At present in our society live streaming is playing a vital role in social media. Live streaming is also helping one gain knowledge. for example, streamings that show about different tour places, or explaining anything about any product, etc. But due to some reasons, in some cases, it is showing an only bad impact on our society. by showing mature content or defaming other idols or heroes. So, to prevent these types of bad impacts on live streaming in social media these new IT rules 2021 were made.

How have these rules been beneficial?

These new rules seemed to have lessened the responsibility by reducing from being necessary to be best to achieve the goal. And secondly by reducing the scope of unlawful content to only include content full of sexual abuse, child sexual abuse, and duplicating to removed content. And IT (information technology) rules help in removing the problems which are faced by several people like scams, defamation, etc… International criminals, offenders were freely living among us with many benefits, by using the same intermediaries. so, our new IT rules 2021 government can check on them and capture them easily by encrypting their details.

New regulation for social media company

  • Must take down content upon receiving a court order or notice from a government agency within 36 hours.
  • Appoint grievance officer, resolve complaints in 15 days.
  • Companies must disable or remove any sexual act. 
  • Identify “first originator” of content that authorities consider anti-national.
  • Stricter rules for bigger platforms, including local presence.
  • SM companies to set up a grievance redressal mechanism for users\victims.
  • Those opting for verification will get a tag that everyone can see.
  • These are the rules which are made for the social media company.

Regulations for digital media and ott platforms

  • Self-regulation.
  • These new rules broadly deal with social media and OTT (over-the-top) platforms.
  • Age verification mechanism for content classified as ‘A’ (adult).

It helps children from preventing them from seeing the sensitive content. and keep them from bad influences. 

  • Code of ethics: to follow prescribed guidelines.
  • Self-classification of content (universal, adult, etc).
  • Three-tier grievance redressal mechanism.
  • Oversight mechanism under I&B ministry.

It means the bad content which will be posted or streaming will be noticed by the government. under such circumstances, they can be punished for sharing bad content which influences lots of people.

In case of non-compliance, the intermediary will lose its safe harbor from user content liable to punishment under any law. Could include prosecution under IT Act or India penal code.

Negative effects of these rules

According to what experts say there are some negative effects of these new 2021 rules. They are given below:

  • The newly implemented IT rules 2021 like messages (whats App) being checked etc. are against our right to privacy which is Article 21 of our constitution. 
  • WhatsApp, telegram, and Signal will have to get weaker end-to-end encryption to allow verifiability. 
  • And also, the main negative effect is it will breach the privacy of users, every person has their privacy which these new IT rules are going to breach.
  • Experts say it is not enough to take action with stakeholders and there are many chances to cause cyber attacks due to these rules.
  • Possibly strictest control of social media and OTT platforms. wherever may significantly affect digital firms.
  • India is the largest internet market, with over many users, so it may be very tough to implement these new IT (information technology) rules.

Impact of live streaming content on social media

Before the implementation of the new IT (information technology) rules 2021 there are many problems because of live streaming. Live streaming is generally done on apps like Instagram, Facebook, youtube, etc. This live streaming was done on much bad content which affects people’s lives. This streaming impact has gone very badly on the people. Some used to do the live streaming on sexual content which mainly affects the children and the youth. Whereas some used to do the live streaming on the insulting or harassing of others. Not most of the live streaming is bad but there are some. Without any proof one is sharing fake news on the others may affect the life of the people. So, the government has implemented new IT rules like messages, etc being controlled by the government to prevent the problems.


Therefore, this new IT (Information technology) Rules 2021, has both good and bad impacts. These rules are another tool in the hands of the government to use law enforcement agencies and the other means to go after individuals who express an opinion that runs contrary to its ideas and interests. Live streaming contents are very helpful to people in association with one another. So, without any harm, one can do these things. After implementing the new IT rules it has become a good impact on the live streaming content on social media. Except for the live streaming for remaining all apps the new rules have become the strictest. 


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