IT Ministry considers appeals panel against account/post takedowns by social media

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is deliberating upon forming an appeals panel, a first of its kind in the world, that will get the authority to reverse account/post takedowns by social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in the country.

There will be a deadline of 30 days for appeals against decisions by company grievance officers and the appeals panel will get another 30 days to take up the matter and act upon it, according to the draft document.

“The intermediary shall respect the rights accorded to citizens under the constitution,” read the added draft rules in reference to social media platforms.

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 mandate that the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, must establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims.

Intermediaries will have to appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officers. The Grievance Officer shall acknowledge the complaint within twenty-four hours and resolve it within 15 days from its receipt, according to the IT rules.

Earlier this year, Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the government is willing to introduce stricter social media norms and all micro-blogging sites operating in the country must be held accountable.

Vaishnaw also informed that there are five significant social media intermediaries as mandated by the new IT Rules and all of them are obliged to publish their monthly compliance reports.

Twitter has already appointed a Chief Compliance Officer, Nodal Contact Person and Resident Grievance Officer residing in India as per the IT Rules, 2021.

The Indian government’s appeals panel may be on the lines of The Oversight Board that looks into account/post takedowns by Facebook (now Meta) and has the power to reverse the earlier decisions by the social media giant.




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