Smriti Irani asks Meta to sync with child helpline for quick response during emergency

Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani urges social media giant Meta to collaborate with child helpline for speedy assistance during emergency situations.

Smriti Irani asks Meta to sync with child helpline for quick response during emergency

Monday April 10, 2023,

3 min Read

Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on Monday asked social media major Meta to work in sync with the child helpline to provide quick relief to children in an emergency situation.

Speaking at Digital Suraksha Summit, Irani expressed concern over videos being made in unsafe circumstances by social media users and asked Meta to work with institutions like NIMHANS to run mental health programmes.

"The government, in collaboration with all state governments, runs a helpline 1098 which is the child helpline. But, there is absolutely no symmetry between this helpline and that helpline. Some kids will presume that your helpline was the helpline to call when they are in mortal danger," Irani said.

Meta at present has a tie-up with Rati Foundation to provide help to children.

The minister said during an emergency situation, a child calls an NGO which is obviously not equipped in order to give an immediate response.

"There are these gaps that still need to be sewn over. I'm mindful of the fact that Meta has never digressed on administrative responsiveness. But those are the issues...that need to get addressed. Push the 1098 number to say call this if you are in mortal danger," Irani said.

Irani said NGOs are not equipped to provide a quick response during an emergency situation.

"If we want to service the needs of child safety with alacrity, we need to work with agencies that have a quick response time...The government and agencies in law and order are committed to responding with speed to people in danger," Irani said.

The women and child development minister asked Meta to spread awareness about the safety tool available on its platform.

Irani said she has taken note of several reports of people making some reels in most unsafe circumstances like standing on railway platforms or jumping on and off metros, to kidnapping children.

"This is a large part of the mental health programme, which I hope that you can push. I have never had your team say no when I seek a solution as an administrator. Do this programme with NIMHANS directly because it is needed and maybe India can give you a case to take it to the rest of the world," Irani said.

Meta's Vice President Global Head of Safety, Antigone Davis said she has asked India to act on the issues highlighted by the minister.

Meta on the occasion announced a new platform 'Take It Down', created by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) with Meta's support, to help young people check the spread of non-consensual intimate images.

Meta said people can go to to submit a case that will proactively search for their intimate images on participating apps.