Govt pick, ind experts for social media appellate

The grievance appellate committee for social media users being proposed through amendment to IT rules may have one government nominee as well as some independent experts, according to a source.

  The IT Ministry is giving the final touch to the proposed amendment in IT rules that entail setting up of a grievance appellate committee to look into appeals filed by individuals against decisions of grievance officers of social media platforms.

 The IT Ministry hopes to notify the changes “very soon”, possibly in less than a month.

 A government official privy to the matter said the proposed mechanism will be citizen-centric, and the composition of grievance redressal committee will notified as part of the rule.

 It is likely to have one government nominee as well as some independent experts, the official said but did not comment on the specifics of the panel or its other constituents.

 The government is in the process of amending the social media rules that propose to give users a grievance appeal mechanism against arbitrary content moderation, inaction, or takedown decisions of big tech companies.

 The government had, in June, circulated the draft rules around this. At present, “there is no appellate mechanism provided by intermediaries nor is there any credible self-regulatory mechanism in place”, the IT ministry had then said.

“It is proposed to create an appellate body called ‘Grievance Appellate Committee’ under rule 3(3) of the IT Rules 2021 by invoking section 79 of the IT Act having regard to additional guidelines as may be prescribed by the Central Government. Users will have the option to appeal against the grievance redressal process of the intermediaries before this new appellate body,” the note accompanying the draft amendment had said.

 The committee will endeavor to address the user’s appeal within a period of 30 days, the note had further said.

 Even after providing for the redressal mechanism through the IT Rules, 2021, user grievances remained unresolved, prompting the government to step in.

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