Major social media platforms Yet not register as SSMCs Under Rule

Registered SSMC included Joyo Technology Pakistan (Private) Limited (Snackvideo), Bigo Service Pakistan (Private) Limited (BIGO Live, Likee) & Micro World Limited (YoHo, MICO).

Major social media platforms Yet not register as SSMCs Under Rule

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has blamed major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for failing to respond positively to the “Registration of Significant Social Media Companies under Rules, 2021”, according to reports.

According to official documents, five significant media platforms have completed the registration process and are now registered as Significant Social Media Companies (SSMC) in Pakistan under the said rules.

The registered SSMC included Joyo Technology Pakistan (Private) Limited (Snackvideo), Bigo Service Pakistan (Private) Limited (BIGO Live, Likee), and Micro World Limited (YoHo, MICO).

However, all major social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc have not responded positively to the repeated direction of the authority w.r.t. registration under Rules 2021.

However, all major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have not responded positively to the authority’s repeated requests for registration under Rules 2021.

The PTA went on to say that the Rules 201 have been challenged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and are awaiting decision. WP No. 1579/2022, titled “Farhatullah Babar vs. FoPetc,” has also been filed before the IHC, in which section 37 of the PECA is challenged.

The Prime Minister’s Office, in a notification dated June 23, 2022, reconstituted the National Social Media Coordination Working Group (NSMCWG) under the chairmanship of the law minister, with the mandate to review PECA and Rules 2021 and make recommendations to bring the said act and rules into compliance with the Pakistan Constitution and existing laws.

The working group established a sub-committee to review the Rules 2021 and make recommendations on amendments to the rules at its most recent meeting on September 7, 2022.

In accordance with Pakistani laws, social media platforms do not consider themselves obligated to entertain requests for blocking. They encourage dissatisfied users to contact them directly. However, several meetings with Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok have been scheduled in order to streamline the procedures.

In response to the PTA’s request, Facebook has notified a dedicated resource for effective coordination with the PTA. Similarly, YouTube has launched a Pakistan-specific version. During recent meetings with senior YouTube representatives, the platform assured a special check on hate speech, contempt of court, and blasphemous content.

Under Section 37 of the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act 2016, the PTA reports illegal online content to various social media platforms, including Twitter. A total of 67166 links containing illegal content were forwarded, with only 34010 links blocked to date, representing approximately 50.64 percent of the requests submitted for blocking.

It is also worth noting that the blocking percentage is based on violations of Twitter‘s own Community Standards rather than legal provisions in Pakistan.

The PTA has attempted to actively engage with Twitter by holding multiple meetings with its senior management in order to improve the working arrangement by developing a mechanism for blocking illegal content in accordance with Pakistani laws as well as community guidelines.

However, when compared to other social media platforms, Twitter’s response is unimpressive. It is worth noting that, in relation to the most sensitive issue of blasphemous content, the PTA has approached the MoIT for guidance and to advise on further course of action against such non-compliant platforms.