India withdraws Apple Messages from new IT rules

New Delhi: India’s IT ministry has dropped its demand that Apple Messages follow a set of social network standards, including recruiting resident grievance officer, reports said.

Many apps have previously been prohibited by India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), and Apple has been ordered to remove TikTok from its App Store. Apple Messages is now reportedly counted as a social media platform subject to new Indian legislation, according to separate regulations.

MEITY has now removed a letter addressed to Apple requesting compliance with the standards, according to Business Standard. The move is said to be in response to Apple successfully arguing that Messages is not a social media tool, according to unnamed sources.

“Apple’s iMessage is not an app available that can be downloaded by anyone,” the sources told Business Standard. “It is an SMS-like feature of the phone and hence MEITY has withdrawn a. letter issued to Apple for seeking compliance.”

The new social media regulations in India, which took effect on May 26, impose specific restrictions on eligible businesses. They must, first and foremost, appoint particular officers to handle complaints, each of whom must be a resident of India.

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 applies to social media companies with more than 5 million Indian users on their sites. Apple Messages has fewer users, according to Business Standard, which is another reason MEITY withdrew its letter.