It has been reported that eminent social media firms, such as; Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have not responded positively to the PTA’s direction of registering themselves under “Registration of Significant Social Media Companies under Rules, 2021.” These rules bind the social media companies to remove or block access to online content considered necessary in the interest of the glory of Islam, security, public order, decency and morality, and integrity or defense of Pakistan.
Response From Social Media Firms (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube)
As per details, a dedicated resource has been notified by Facebook to coordinate with the authority in this regard, and YouTube has also launched a country version for Pakistan; the recent meetings with its representatives revealed that the company would assure special checks on hate speech, contempt of court, and blasphemous content.
On the contrary, the meetings with Twitter representatives were rather bland, and the response was not up to the mark. The sources revealed that PTA tried to actively engage with Twitter by convening meetings with its senior management to develop a mechanism for blocking unlawful content in accordance with Pakistani laws. Its response was specifically weak with respect to the blasphemous content.
Reporting Unlawful Online Content to Different Social Media Platforms
Under section 37 of the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act 2016, PTA reports unlawful online content to social media platforms. In this regard, PTA submitted a total of 67,166 links, out of which 34,010 links have been blocked to date, which is around 50.64 percent of the requests submitted for blocking. Talking about the registration of social media companies, so far five social media platforms have completed the registration process and are now registered as significant social media companies in Pakistan. These companies include SnackVideo, BIGO Live, Likee, YoHo, and MICO.