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Google Opposes Facebook Proposal

Google Said to Oppose Facebook-Backed Proposal for Self-Regulatory Body in India

Google has grave reservations about developing a self-regulatory body for the social media sector in India to hear user complaints, though the proposal has support from Facebook and Twitter, sources with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters.

India in June proposed appointing a government panel to hear complaints from users about content moderation decisions, but has also said it is open to the idea of a self-regulatory body if the industry is willing.

The lack of consensus among the tech giants, however, increases the likelihood of a government panel being formed – a prospect that Meta Platform’s Facebook and Twitter are keen to avoid as they fear government and regulatory overreach in India, the sources said.

At a closed-door meeting this week, an executive from Alphabet’s Google told other attendees the company was unconvinced about the merits of a self-regulatory body. The body would mean external reviews of decisions that could force Google to reinstate content, even if it violated Google’s internal policies, the executive was quoted as saying.

The sources declined to be identified as the discussions were private.

Such directives from a self-regulatory body could set a dangerous precedent, the sources also quoted the Google executive as saying.

In addition to Facebook, Twitter and Google, representatives from Snap and popular Indian social media platform ShareChat also attended the meeting. Together, the companies have hundreds of millions of users in India.

Google said in a statement it had attended a preliminary meeting and is engaging with the industry and the government, adding that it was “exploring all options” for a “best possible solution.”

Snap and ShareChat also voiced concern about a self-regulatory system, saying the matter requires much more consultation including with civil society.

ShareChat and Facebook declined to comment. The other companies did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.

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