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Govt Advises Against Promotion of Offshore Betting and Gambling Platforms on Social Media

New Delhi: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a directive today, urging all endorsers and influencers on social media to abstain from promoting or advertising offshore online betting and gambling platforms, including surrogate advertisements. The move comes in light of the significant financial and socio-economic implications associated with online betting and gambling, particularly on the youth demographic.

Highlighting the potential adverse effects of such promotions, the Ministry has advised online advertisement intermediaries against targeting Indian audiences with promotional content related to betting and gambling. Additionally, social media intermediaries have been encouraged to conduct sensitization efforts among their users to discourage the dissemination of such content.

The advisory emphasizes that non-compliance with these guidelines may result in legal proceedings under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. This could include the removal or disabling of social media posts or accounts, along with penal action under applicable statutes.

While Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000 provides intermediaries with exemption from liability for third-party information, data, or communication hosted on their platforms, the Ministry pointed out that this exemption does not apply if intermediaries fail to expeditiously remove or disable access to unlawful content upon receiving actual knowledge or notification from the appropriate government or its agency.

Furthermore, the Ministry reiterated a previous advisory issued by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on March 6, 2024. The CCPA had expressed concerns regarding endorsements of betting and gambling platforms by celebrities and influencers, cautioning that any direct or indirect advertisement or endorsement in this regard would be subject to rigorous scrutiny.

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