21:44 GMT16 June 2021
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    On 25 February, the Indian government passed three rules for social networking platforms to regulate the nation’s digital space. However, the definition of a "social network" appears to be a little blurry.

    On Wednesday, Google asked the Delhi High Court to make it exempt from India's new IT laws.

    The tech giant argues that because the legislation is aimed at social networking platforms, it shouldn't be included because it's a “search engine.”

    Recently, a court order forced Google to fall in line with the laws after hearing the case of a woman whose images were uploaded on an adult website without her permission. Google failed to remove the photos despite numerous court orders, so the judge said the search engine must comply with the IT legislation. 

    The court also demanded Google identify and disable access to any graphic content similar to that linked to the woman's case. 

    "Search engines are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the Internet. And while we maintain a consistent policy over removal of objectionable content from search results, the Delhi High Court order has cast certain obligations that would wrongly classify Google search as a social media intermediary,” a Google spokesperson said in an official statement. 

    “We’ve filed an appeal against this part of the order and look forward to explaining the steps we take to remove objectionable content from Google search results,” the spokesperson added.

    The Delhi High Court has issued a notice seeking responses from Facebook, the central government, Delhi government, and the Internet Service Providers Association of India following Google's insistence that it shouldn't be be viewed as a social network. 

    The pornographic website where the pictures of the woman were uploaded has also been approached for a response.

    The next hearing for Google’s plea is scheduled for 25 July.

    India’s IT laws demand social media companies appoint grievance and nodal officers to deal with user complaints and assist law enforcement agencies respectively. They also demand that social networking apps must help security agencies trace the origin of problematic content on its platform.

    WhatsApp and Twitter have already started appointing their respective grievance officers, however,  Facebook and Twitter are dragging their heels because they oppose tracing the origin of certain content, citing user privacy concerns.



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