After successfully crafting space as a credible alternative to Twitter, a global social media platform, homegrown platform Koo while lauding the new IT rules has called for a transparent and consistent approach to algorithms as a conscious choice by every social media platform and is “the right way to go” to establish trust with users.
Microblogging platform Koo’s co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna said that self-regulation should be the first step, separate instructions are needed in cases where platforms are not living up to the expectation of users or are found to be violating norms.
“It is our choice to remain transparent and consistent, and that is the value-add we are bringing into the world of social media,” Radhakrishna said.
Recent allegations of Facebook’s system and algorithms fuelling hate speech and fake news have led to widespread concerns over the influence of algorithms and tools in amplifying harmful content and misinformation.
Following recent revelations by whistleblower Frances Haugen, Facebook drew flak for allegedly putting profit before the public good, and not doing enough to shed its ‘growth at all costs culture that propelled its rise to capture 2.91 billion monthly active users globally, including over 400 million in India.
Earlier Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar stated that no ‘algorithm’ of any social media platform should violate the fundamental rights of Indians, and the laws and jurisprudence would need to evolve continuously to keep pace with the changing nature of the internet.
Further, the Union IT ministry is planning a massive outreach next year in the form of a dialogue with the public, consumer forums, academia, industry, and others on fast-evolving online space and what more needs to be done to ensure that the internet is open, safe and trusted.
Koo’s Radhakrishna said making algorithms transparent is a conscious choice to be made by companies, and an easy one for all platforms, irrespective of whether they are into microblogging or other forms of social media.
“If you want to be opaque about it, then nobody will understand why I’m seeing a particular type of content, and hence accusations will be made…but as long as it’s transparent and consistent, it is the right way to go and more trust is built with the user as well as individual governments of every country,” Radhakrishna said.
India, is a key market for internet companies including Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter, given the large population base, burgeoning internet, and smartphone adoption, as well as explosive growth.
Amid rising instances of user harm and dangerous behaviour on digital platforms, India enforced new IT intermediary rules earlier this year, aiming to bring greater accountability for big tech companies, including Twitter and Facebook.
The new rules require social media platforms to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours and set up a robust complaint redressal mechanism with an officer being based in the country. Social media companies are required to take down posts depicting nudity or morphed photos within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.
Significant social media companies – those with over 50 lakh users – also have to publish a monthly compliance report disclosing details of complaints received and action taken as also details of contents removed proactively.