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Pakistan frames new rules to control social media platforms

Companies have resisted the demand to open offices in Pakistan

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 13, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 days ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Oct 13, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 days ago

Photo: AFP

The federal government has drafted a new set of rules to control social media platforms, which will be required to open permanent offices in Pakistan and abide by local laws.

Social media companies violating the rules would face heavy fines that could be as high as Rs500 million.

In the past, social media platforms have resisted demands by successive Pakistani governments to open offices in the country.

The rules will take effect after the ministry of information and technology issues a notification, SAMAA TV reported.

The government plans to rein in an unbridled social media and the notification would be issued soon, it said.

The “Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules, 2021” are based on several existing laws, including the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.

Under the new rules, all social media forums will be required to open permanent offices in Pakistan within six months.

Companies behind social media platforms will ensure compliance with Pakistani laws and the protection of users’ data.

Some of the most important rules are as follows:

  • Social media platforms will open permanent offices in Pakistan within six months.
  • All social media companies will register with the PTA and set up data servers within three months.
  • Companies will establish an online grievance redressal mechanism and issue community guidelines.
  • The issues reported to the companies will be resolved within seven days without revealing the identity of the online complainant.
  • Violation will result in a fine that could be as high as Rs500 million.

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