Google with Delhi HC
Google with Delhi HC
Litigation News

Initiatives, tools in place to curb misinformation or fake news, not obligated to notify designated officers: Google tells Delhi HC

The statement forms part of the counter-affidavit submitted by Google LLC in response to a petition seeking the removal of hate speech and fake news online.

Aditi Singh

Claiming to be a responsible corporate entity which understands its roles and responsibilities, Google LLC has stated before the Delhi High Court that it regularly invests in various initiatives, technological measures and tools to curb the dissemination of any misinformation or fake news though any of its product or services on the internet.

Content regulation with respect to fake news and hate speech is carried on the basis of a set of policies which are founded on internationally recognized principles, it is said.

Google has informed the Court of its features like Google News initiative, Fact Check Explorer, COVID-19 Misinformation Policy to state that any violation of its policies is taken with extreme seriousness.

The statement forms part of the counter-affidavit submitted by Google LLC in response to a petition seeking the removal of hate speech and fake news online.

The petition has been preferred by by KN Govindacharya.

To control the menace of fake news and hate speech, the petition also seeks a direction to social media companies to disclose details of their "designated officers".

Google LLC has asserted that it has already established a dedicated mechanism for Government authorities to request for the removal of illegal content, as per lawful requests, and for disclosure of user information.

However, there is no requirement under law to “notify” any designated officers for this purpose, Google LLC has said.

Stating that "designated officers" are provided for the express and limited purpose of coordination with relevant Government authorities in terms of the Traffic Data Rules, IMD Rules and Blocking Rules, Google LLC has submitted,

Designated officers are not intended to have a public facing role. Disclosing their names and identity in public would defeat the very purpose for the appointment of a designated officer, inasmuch as they are likely to be distracted and encumbered by matters of public dealing thereby diminishing their ability to respond in a timely and effective manner to the various and often urgent governmental requests, such as for removal/blocking of content as may be received from authorized government agencies under due process of law and accordingly dealt with.
Google LLC

It has also sought to draw a distinction between a "designated officer" and a "grievance officer" which is appointed under Rule 3(11) of the Intermediary Guidelines.

"The legislative scheme requires details of the Grievance Officers to be made publically available, so that the intended purpose i.e. of users being able to contact intermediaries with any grievances that they may have, is met.", it is explained.

Google LLC has further asserted that it has a clear reporting mechanism for notice and to takedown any third party unlawful content that may be posted on its platform.

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