The information technology rules 2021 were notified on February 25, 202. The guidelines were related to intermediaries and digital media ethics code. The rules have been notified under sections 69A(2), 79(2) and 87 the information technology act, 2000. The 2021 rules replace the information technology (intermediates guidelines) rules, 2011. The term social media intermediaries demonstrates whatsapp, facebook, twitter, Netflix etc.


The rules aim to provide a robust complaint mechanism for the users of social media and over-the-top (OTT) platforms to address their grievances. Emphasis on the protection of women and children from sexual offences on social media. Online content publishers and social media intermediaries should follow the constitution of the country and subject themselves to domestic laws. As per the date by PIB, there are: whatsapp users: 53 crore, youtube users: 44.8 crore, facebook users: 41 crore, instagram users: 21 crore, twitter users: 1.75 crore

Timeline of regulation

  • In 2018, the supreme court had observed that the Indian government may frame necessary guidelines to eradicate child phonography, rape and gangrapes, imageries, videos and sites in content hosting platforms.
  • In 2020, an ad-hoc committee of the rajya sabha submitted its report on the state social media pornography and its effect on children and society as a whole.
  • In 2020, the government of India brought OTT platforms under and broadcasting ministry.

Provisions and terminologies

  • Social media intermediaries can be divided into two parts
  • Social media intermediaries
  • Significant social media intermediaries
  • Internet intermediaries can be described as entities that facilitate access to the internet or services on the internet.
  • Intermediaries include internet or telecom service providers, online marketplaces, and social media platforms.

Diligence clauses

Appointing a chief compliance officer to ensure compliance with the IT act and the rules who would be held liable in case the intermediary fails to observe the due diligence requirements and also appointing a grievance officer residing in India. Grievance officer shall acknowledge the complaint within twenty four hours and resolve it within fifteen days from its receipt and grievances officer have to publish a monthly compliance report. Intermediaries shall remove or disable access within 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents that exposes the private areas of individuals, show such individuals in full or partial nudity or in sexual act or is in the nature of impersonation including morphed images etc. and in case of digital media publishers (news and OTT), a three tier grievances redressal mechanism will be in place for dealing with complaints regarding content:

  1. Self regulation by the publishers
  2. Self regulation by the self regulating bodies of the publishers
  3. Oversight mechanism by the central government.

The concept of safe harbour

In case, due diligence is not followed by the intermediary, safe harbour provisions will not apply to them. And these provisions have been defined under section 79 of the IT act, and protect social media intermediaries by giving them immunity from legal prosecution for any content posted on their platforms and if a tweet, a facebook post or a post of instagram violates the local laws, the law enforcement agency would be well within its rights to book not not only the person sharing the content, but the executives of these companies as well.


Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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