Government amends IT rules to establish social media grievance appellate panels

The content filtering choices made by social media sites like Meta and Twitter will be subject to review by the grievance committees.

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The government modified IT regulations on Friday to make it possible for the creation of grievance appellate panels, which would resolve any concerns consumers may have about how social media sites first handled their complaints about content and other issues.

These committees will have the authority to examine the choices made by social media platforms like Meta and Twitter when moderating content.

According to a gazette notification published on Friday, the “Grievance Appellate Committees” will be established within three months.

The acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion (about Rs. 3,62,300 crore) by Tesla CEO Elon Musk coincides with the completion of that deal, giving the world’s richest man control over one of the most important social media platforms in the world.

However, since consumers highlighted instances of digital platforms behaving arbitrarily, the IT policy revisions have been in the works for months. With the most recent action, users will have a mechanism for appealing grievance rulings in the form of appellate panels, which will examine complaints made by people about the judgments of the grievance officers of social media platforms.

On Friday, the revised IT guidelines were announced.

“The central government shall, by notification, establish one or more grievance appellate committees within three months from the date of commencement of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2022,” the notification said.

Each grievance appellate committee will include a chairperson, two full-time members (two of whom must be independent), and one ex-officio member who are all selected by the central government.

“Any person aggrieved by a decision of the grievance officer may prefer an appeal to the grievance appellate committee within a period of thirty days from the date of receipt of communication from the grievance officer,” it said.

The grievance appellate panel will handle such an appeal “expeditiously” and try to reach a final decision within thirty days of the appeal’s receipt date.