The Union government has issued notices to social media websites X, formerly known as Twitter, and YouTube as well as messaging application Telegram, directing them to remove child sexual abuse material.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said that failure to comply with the directives would be considered a breach of the Information Technology Rules. The ministry also told the three platforms that any delay in complying with the directives would lead to them losing their safe harbour protection under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act which shields them from legal liability.

“The Government is determined to build a safe and trusted internet under the IT rules,” Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said. “The IT rules under the IT Act lays down strict expectations from social media intermediaries that they should not allow criminal or harmful posts on their platforms.”

A spokesperson for YouTube said that the platform has a zero-tolerance policy on child sexual abuse material and any content that endangers minors, The Hindu reported.

“We have heavily invested in the technology and teams to fight child sexual abuse and exploitation online and take swift action to remove it as quickly as possible,” it said. “In Q2 2023, we removed over 94,000 channels and over 2.5 million videos for violations of our child safety policies. We will continue to work with experts inside and outside of YouTube to provide minors and families the best protections possible.”