The government is planning to submit a bill for a legal revision to oblige the operators of social media platforms such as X, Instagram and YouTube to delete content that defames individuals or businesses in a swifter and more transparent manner, sources close to the matter have said.

The operators will be required within a certain period of time to disclose to those submitting deletion requests whether posts have been removed or the reasons for denial, the sources said.

It will also be mandatory for operators to develop and publicize guidelines for the deletion of posts and to make clear who to contact for the filing of such requests.

The government will submit the bill to revise the Provider Liability Limitation Act during an ordinary Diet session starting this month.

The law was amended in 2022 to simplify procedures for the disclosure of information necessary to file for damages against individuals who post defamatory content. But there have been growing calls for measures to ensure defamatory posts are deleted more quickly as trials are costly and take time.

A consultation center outsourced by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications received more than 5,700 inquiries regarding social media posts in fiscal 2022.

While platform operators are employing personnel and artificial intelligence for monitoring and deletion, defamatory content continues to be posted.

YouTube deleted over 100,000 videos in Japan in the three months through September last year for violations of its terms of service.

"You may think videos can be deleted quickly and easily, but it's actually quite complex," said YouTube Japan representative Akiko Nakajo.

Decisions regarding the potential deletion of content must take into consideration the need to ensure fairness and any risk to freedom of expression, Nakajo said.