NEW DELHI: In response to a notice from India's Ministry of Information Technology (IT Ministry) warning of consequences for failing to remove child sexual abuse material (CSAM), both Google-owned YouTube and encrypted messaging platform Telegram have reiterated their unwavering commitment to combatting CSAM and related content on their platforms.
YouTube's spokesperson emphasized their dedication to safeguarding minors and unequivocally stated that any content endangering children is unacceptable. They highlighted substantial investments made in technology and dedicated teams to combat child sexual abuse online. In Q2 2023 alone, YouTube removed over 94,000 channels and 2.5 million videos for violating their child safety policies. YouTube pledged to continue collaborating with experts to enhance protection measures.
Telegram also reaffirmed its commitment to upholding legal and ethical standards, particularly in cases related to child pornography, child sexual abuse material, and similar content circulating on the Indian internet. They stressed their "zero-tolerance policy" and swift actions in addressing such issues, with an average response time for content removal within 10-12 hours.
Both platforms emphasized their commitment to complying with Section 79 of the IT Act, vowing to promptly act on any reports of CSAM. They acknowledged the critical importance of adhering to the IT Act rules, which mandate that social media intermediaries prevent the dissemination of criminal or harmful posts. Failure to act swiftly could result in the withdrawal of safe harbor protection under Section 79 of the IT Act, exposing them to legal consequences in India.
While YouTube and Telegram promptly responded to the Indian government's notice, X Corp (formerly Twitter) was yet to provide a response.
Union Minister of State for Electronics & IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, underlined the significance of compliance, cautioning that any delay in addressing CSAM issues could lead to the withdrawal of safe harbor protection and subsequent legal consequences under Indian law. The Indian government's notice serves as a stern reminder to tech companies operating in India of the gravity of their responsibilities in combating CSAM and ensuring a safer online environment for children.