Elon Musk has recently announced that Twitter will charge 8 dollars per month to verify users’ accounts, claiming that the plan would solve the platform’s issues with bots and trolls while creating a new revenue stream for the company.
The new plan’s pricing will be adjusted in proportion to purchasing power parity. Twitter's ‘Blue Tick’ or verified subscribers will also receive priority placement in replies, mentions, and searches.
Verified accountS will be able to post long videos and audio.
Musk is also said to be working on the overhaul of various other policies of the Social Media platform Twitter.
This above mentioned situation raises some serious issue of social media influence and its increasing dominance. The following brief aims to analyze the following aspects:
How can and to what extent the commercialization of social media can change the dynamics of social media platforms?
Role of regulations to safeguard the rights of users and provisions in case of non-compliance with sovereign laws.
Excerpts from the debate
The changing atmosphere of social media is not at all stable.
For example- On one hand, Twitter noted a change in the ownership, on the other India, has attempted to bring changes in the intermediary guidelines.
The world is now at a point where it has become necessary to think about the working and regulations of such social media platforms.
What is happening in the social media world?
The social media that we are looking at today is a dynamic one, where all kinds of people are getting the opportunity to express themselves.
These expressions not only add to the dynamics of the platforms but also add to the need for regulations.
Concern of users:
The medium should remain constructive and useful.
The medium should remain palatable and a place where one can freely express.
Concerns of Regulators:
Missing elements of responsibility among these platforms.
Lack of diligence towards regulations.
The cumulative effect of Technology and user experience on the Dynamics of social media:
Freeing from Data Colonization: Twitter commercializing its services may be seen as a step to stop its users from turning into a victim of data colonization, as companies giving services for free at times use your data and holds copyrights over it.
Free from hate speech
Townhall of diverse ideas
Free from political biases
Dealing with the problem of bots
Stability of account
Access to platform analytics
Tackling the issue of Identity Theft
Nothing is for free: These platforms take your data, making us a data subject and later churning it to utilize it in some other manner. This is how the entire business model usually works.
Where does the law of land stand and interplay with existing rules?
No unilateral changes possible: In today’s scenarios, this platform has become a voice of people, organizations, and nations. One cannot unilaterally change the contract or basics of the contract between the user and a company at a later stage.
Accountability layer: When you pay for the services, you end up giving your financial credentials. If in the later stages malicious activities take place from the account, it gets easier to establish the authenticity of the account.
IT Rules: We have got IT rules (amendments) in places that specifically incorporated things like misinformation, fake news, misrepresentation of products, and false information about entities.
The account has to be taken down and the platform must provide details to law enforcement agencies in case any of the above-mentioned activities are reported.
In Europe, the recently finalized Digital Services Act is filled almost entirely with transparency requirements.
Issue of Regulations:
Self-regulation doesn’t work: We have seen in the past when the necessity of a regulator was felt. The platform and the govt need to be in sync with the laws.
Platform must abide by sovereign laws: The social media platform needs to be a law-enforcing entity, in local geographies, especially in democracies.
It is to be seen, how will these changes impact Twitter users. Its impact on the dynamics of the social media ecosystem might bring more credibility to the platform and to its subjects. The exchange of information enables the user of the platform to solve a problem. As a result, it makes a community more capable to deal with situations that might be novel or otherwise. But the biggest challenge remains the same, which is maintaining security standards and ensuring a platform free from biases.
The traffic (Statistics)
Almost a quarter of the 40 BillionIndian population is currently active on different social media platforms like
Facebook (53 millionusers)
Whatsapp (30 millionusers)
Instagram (37 million users) etc.
As per estimations, by the end of 2022, nearly 77 millionIndians will be active on different social media platforms.
What are IT Rules, 2021?
The Rules aim to empower ordinary users of social media and OTT platforms with a mechanism for redressal and timely resolution of their grievance.
Amendment to IT rules 2021:
The intermediaries now will be expected to ensure that there is no uploading of content that intentionally communicates any misinformation or information that is patently false or untrue hence entrusting an important responsibility to intermediaries.
The rules also have made it explicit for the intermediary to respect the rights accorded to the citizens of India under Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Indian Constitution
Key provisions of the amendment are:
Mandates social media to Exercise Greater Diligence: Broadly, the IT Rules (2021) mandate social media platforms to exercise greater diligence with respect to the content on their platforms.
Grievance Appellate Committees (GAC): The Central Government shall establish one or more Grievance Appellate Committees (GAC) within three months.
Each GAC will consist of a chairperson and two whole-time members appointed by the Central government.
Of these, one member shall be ex-officio, while the other two shall be independent members
The GAC will hear appeals by social media users against the decisions of grievance officers appointed by the intermediary.
The idea behind setting up the committees is to give users of social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, recourse other than approaching the courts to settle complaints.
However, users will always have the right to approach courts for any remedy.
Dispute Resolution Mechanism: Online dispute resolution mechanism, i.e., digital mode of the entire appeal process, from the filing of an appeal to the decision.
Time-bound: The companies will be required to acknowledge complaints from users within 24 hours and resolve them within 15 days or 72 hours in case of an information takedown request.