The Indian government may soon have more control over how social media companies moderate content and block users

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The Indian government may soon have more control over how social media companies moderate content and block users
The proposed amendments will offer more control to the government over social media platforms.Canva
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has released proposed amendments to the IT Rules.
  • The amendments include the establishment of a Grievance Appellate Committee.
  • The committee will be appointed by and report directly to the IT ministry.
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The Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has released proposed amendments to Part I and II of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, also known as IT Rules.

The proposed amendments include the setting up of a grievance appellate committee that will be established by the government and will directly report to it.

Grievance redressal mechanism


The proposals mandate social media platforms to establish a grievance redressal mechanism that will allow users to request for removal of content or a user or complain against the removal of content or blocking of any user on their platform.

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The grievance officer will be required to acknowledge a complaint filed by a user within 24 hours and dispose of the complaint within 15 days from the receipt of the complaint.

The grievance officer will also be required to acknowledge and perform directions given by the central government, the courts or any competent authority.

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If the grievance officer fails to perform this or performs this in an unsatisfactory manner, the user or the authority can approach the proposed Grievance Appellate Committee.

Grievance Appellate Committee


According to the proposed amendment, the government will constitute one or more Grievance Appellate Committees that will include a chairperson and other members appointed by the government.

Any person aggrieved by an order passed by the grievance officer will be able to appeal to the committee within 30 days.

The Grievance Appellate Committee will dispose of the appeal within 30 days from the receipt of the appeal and the social media platforms will be required to comply with its orders.

In a sense, this offers the government complete control over the content and users on social media platforms as the committee members will be appointed and answer to the government.

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This will make it easier for the government to remove content or users it does not like and will also prevent the removal of content it wants to propagate.

Government asks for comments and recommendations


In addition to the proposals, the government has also sought comments and recommendations from the public. The last date for submission of comments is June 22, 2022.

How to submit comments or recommendations to the government


To submit your comments to the IT ministry, you can send an email till June 22 to the following email addresses – - dhawal@meity.gov.in or notan.roy@meity.gov.in.

The comments are required to be sent in the format mentioned here.

Not the first controversial decision in recent times


This isn’t the first controversial decision from the IT ministry in recent times. Earlier this year, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) passed guidelines that mandate companies offering virtual private network (VPN) services in the country to record and store the details of their users.

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This has resulted in ExpressVPN removing its servers from the country and more companies are expected to follow its footsteps.

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