The House Panel wants a problem with social media porn


BENGALURU: A parliamentary committee set up to study the prevalence of adult video on child pornography and abuse on India's social media platforms has questioned Twitter's microblogging platform and tech giant Google has asked for it which will restrict children's access to such content.

The committee, led by Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh, is studying the "worrying issue" of social media pornography and its impact on children and society.

The panel, set up in December, has so far met with representatives of Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Google and ShareChat. Last week, members of the panel asked Twitter for its policy of allowing pornography on its platform, according to two sources. However, Twitter has stated that its policy only permits pornography escorts and does not allow for revenge pornography or child abuse material.

The panel also asked Google what it is doing to limit the discovery of pornography on the search engine and the YouTube video platform, according to a source. It is believed that Google responded that logins were needed to discover adult content on YouTube.

Under YouTube's policy, content creators can limit the age of videos. So, for example, when a video is age restricted, viewers must be online and 18 years of age or older to view it. Twitter suggested to the committee that industry and government should adopt a "constructive" approach to educate teenagers on how to make their online experience enjoyable, positive and secure, according to the source. Share-Chat, which also submitted its observations to the committee, called for regulations to provide contractual protection to digital interactions of young adults and said India could consider a framework such as child privacy law in Internet (COPPA), according to another source.

The group will present a report with a series of proposals on legislative and regulatory changes. Of course, viewing pornographic content is not illegal in India. A Twitter spokesman told ET that the platform had a zero-tolerance policy on the sexual exploitation of children but did not respond to a question about the committee's concern about adult pornography and its access to children. Google and ShareChat declined to comment. Twitter's policy on nudity and pornography is known to be far more liberal than other platforms.

Its latest policy states that users can share consensual adult content in their tweets, provided they flag this medium as sensitive. However, users cannot include adult content in areas that are highly visible on Twitter, including live videos, profiles, or headlines.

On the other hand, Instagram and Facebook do not allow "nudity" of any kind except for post-mastectomy photos and women who are actively breastfeeding.