The Union government has pushed its deadline to notify the Intermediary Guidelines (Amendment) Rules, which will define liabilities for digital companies such as Facebook and Google, according to an official who said the rules will now be disclosed around January 27-28.

In September last year, the Supreme Court directed the government to give a deadline for the notification. In an affidavit filed in October, the ministry of electronics and information technology said it will complete the notification by January 15.

"The case comes up for hearing on January 28; we will notify the Rules just around that time," an official told HT.

HT had last week reported that it is likely that tweaks in the draft could include changes in intermediary culpability and a redefinition of unlawful content to include terrorism and child sexual abuse imagery. The focus on the liabilities of such companies intensified in 2017 following a spate of lynching incidents that are seen to have triggered by rumours spread through services such as WhatsApp. However, several intermediaries have expressed their reservations due to the Indian government's insistence on traceability. WhatsApp, which has an estimated 400 million users in India, has said that the changes could interfere with users' privacy.