I&B Ministry asks social media influencers to refrain from promoting offshore betting, gambling platforms

Information & Broadcasting Ministry on Thursday cautioned 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 in a statement said that such advertisements can have significant financial and socio-economic implications on consumers, particularly the youth.

It has also advised online advertisement intermediaries not to push such promotional content towards Indian audience. “Social media intermediaries have also been advised to conduct sensitisation efforts among their users to refrain from publishing such content,” the Ministry added.

Penalty

The advisory has also cautioned that failure to comply 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 further stressed that intermediaries will not be exempted from the liability. According to sub section 3b of Section 79 of the IT Act, exemptions from liability does not apply, “if upon receiving actual knowledge, or on being notified by the appropriate government or its agency that any information, data or communication when 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 also pointed out that the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has also expressed concerns regarding endorsements of betting and gambling platforms by celebrities and influencers. CCPA has also cautioned that any such direct or indirect advertisement or endorsement shall be subject to rigorous scrutiny.



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