In order to address formidable challenges in this era of social and digital media regarding the uploading of unlawful online content, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has developed a user-friendly Complaint Management System (CMS), accessible at its website as well as through mobile app.
According to an article written by a senior official of PTA, Muhammad Farooq, “Raising public awareness about the complaint registering mechanism provided by social media platforms, as well as the mechanism provided by PTA, will facilitate the lodging of complaints concerning unlawful online content”.
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The article titled “The Role of Timely Reporting Unlawful Online Content” elaborates that any aggrieved person can lodge the complaint to PTA by selecting a relevant category such as Anti-State, Sectarian, etc while incomplete or wrong information may cause rejection of the complaint or delay in processing complaint.
For public guidance, a video “How to Report Unlawful Online Content” has been uploaded on PTA’s official Youtube channel (@ptaofficialpk).
Social media strive to ensure a safe platform for users through self-regulation, which involves the issuance of community guidelines and standards. It is essential for the public to familiarize themselves with these community standards/guidelines of these platforms.
These guidelines provide a framework of rules aimed at creating a safe environment for users to interact and share information. They also include advice on illegal and prohibited actions that may result in the permanent suspension of user accounts.
Timely reporting of unlawful content that goes against the community guidelines/standards is crucial for its early removal and the permanent banning of repeat offenders. Social Media (SM) platforms actively encourage users to approach them directly to seek missing or additional information needed for the timely resolution f issues.
PTA has provided a list of URLs for major SM platforms where complaints can be lodged that is accessible at (http://www.pta.gov.pk/assets/media/sm_platforms_09032020.pdf).
Additionally, WhatsApp, known for its end-to-end encryption, encourages its users to report unlawful content within the app itself. Users can do so by long-pressing the unlawful message and selecting the `report’ option.
Awareness of unlawful online content and its reporting to SM platforms/PTA will ensure safe, responsible and secure use of cyberspace, the article said.