Ministry of I&B cautions SM influencers against promoting offshore online betting and gambling platforms

New Delhi: Failure to comply with it may lead removal or disabling of social media posts or accounts and penal action under applicable statutes

BY | Friday, 22 March, 2024

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has on Thursday advised all endorsers and influencers on social media to refrain from promoting or advertising, including surrogate advertisements, of offshore online betting and gambling platforms. The Ministry stated that these advertisements have a “significant financial and socio-economic implications of online betting and gambling on consumers, particularly the youth.”

The Ministry has further advised the online advertisement intermediaries not to target such promotional content towards Indian audience. Social media intermediaries have also been advised to conduct sensitization efforts among their users to refrain from publishing such content.

The advisory cautions that failure to comply with it may lead to proceedings under the provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 2019 including removal or disabling of social media posts or accounts and penal action under the applicable statutes.

The advisory underlines that while Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000 provides for exemption from liability of intermediaries for third party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted by them, Sub section (3)(b) of section 79 provides that the exemption from liability shall not apply if upon receiving actual knowledge, or on being notified by the appropriate Government or its agency that any information, data or communication link residing in or connected to a computer resource controlled by the intermediary is being used to commit the unlawful act, the intermediary fails to expeditiously remove or disable access to that material on that resource without vitiating the evidence in any manner.

The Ministry has reiterated the advisory by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) dated 06.03.2024 which had expressed concerns regarding endorsements of betting/gambling platforms by celebrities and influencers to endorse and promote their betting activities, and had cautioned that any such direct or indirect advertisement or endorsement shall be subject to rigorous scrutiny.

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