The Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code—or the new IT rules—are particularly important to Apple’s Cupertino-based tech giant’s messaging service, Apple iMessage. The note from the federal government to Apple India, enquiring about compliance, has been withdrawn. According to the article, the government determined that Apple’s iMessage is not a “main or primarily” an instant messaging (IM) service provider for facilitating contact between two or more individuals, and so would not be designated a “social media middleman.”
According to the government, a ‘social media intermediary’ is any platform which “primary or solely” allows and enables online interaction between two or more users while also allowing them to “create, upload, share, disseminate, modify, or access information using its services”.
A social media intermediary in India with more than 5 million active users would be considered a “major social media intermediary” under the IT laws.
Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Signal, and Linkedin are some of the most popular social media intermediates in India. The government first saw Apple’s iMessage as a “major social media middleman” since it had over 25 million active users in India, according to sources quoted by the newspaper.
Because iMessage is not an independent messaging software that can be downloaded on any device, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) ruled that it is not a “primary or totally” distinct firm from Apple. According to the article, this also indicates that the rule requiring the identity of the message’s original source will not apply to the firm.