Center sets up 3 boards to handle social media users’ complaints, report says

Center to set up 3 committees to handle complaints of social network users: Report

Details will be released for stakeholder consultation in early January. (File)

New Delhi:

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (IT) sources said that the government is considering three appeals appeals committees (GACs) to review user complaints against decisions made by platforms. social media platform and consultations on the various modalities of the councils will begin in January.

Information Technology (IT) rules were strengthened in October to pave the way for the formation of center-appointed committees to deal with often overlooked user complaints about the way platforms social media platforms to address their complaints about content and other issues.

Simply put, these boards will be able to review the content moderation decisions of social media companies like Meta and Twitter, and can overrule the decisions of the big tech companies. about a takedown or block request. The government has said the move is necessary due to digital platforms’ “conventional” and “tokenist” approach to user complaints.

Sources told PTI there will be three appeals appeal panels that will be assigned different types of appeals based on the categories of harmful content covered in the recently revised IT rules. In general, these complaints may revolve around claims related to pornography, misinformation, or incitement to religion.

In the new regulations, the government has added objectionable religious content (with the intent to incite violence) alongside pornography, trademark infringement, fake information, and other content that may threaten threatens national sovereignty, such as content that users can flag for the platform’s social network. Decisions by social media platforms on such complaints can be challenged in complaints committees.

IT ministry sources said appeals involving areas other than those listed in the revised IT rules will be referred to the relevant agency or court. In such cases, the GAC will act as a signpost, redirecting the complaint to the relevant agency and court, and notifying the complainant that their complaint has been referred to the agency. related.

Furthermore, the structure of the appeals committees, their design and function, and how they deal with complaints — all such nuances will be raised for stakeholder consultation at the outset. January.

The sources said that although the IT ministry has repeatedly told social media companies that it is open to the industry to propose an effective self-regulatory model and has, in fact, left it open to this option, provisional GACs will apply. If the industry can indeed propose a better solution, the IT ministry is willing to consider the same, the sources said.

Outrage has flared because of the alleged arbitrary behavior of social media platforms against flagged content or the failure of intermediaries to respond quickly enough to user grievances. The latest move will equip users with a complaint mechanism in the form of an appellate committee that will review complaints by individuals against the decisions of the complaints staff of social media platforms. festival.

Notably, the newly revised IT rules also impose a legal obligation on social media companies to do their best to prevent prohibited content and misinformation, and the government has made it clear that platforms like Twitter and Facebook operating in India will have to comply. by local laws and the constitutional rights of Indian users.

In October, IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, while formulating changes to IT rules, pointed out that thousands of messages around unresolved user complaints reflect the resolution mechanism. Resolve “broken” claims provided by platforms.

The minister has affirmed that although the government will work with social media companies towards the common goal of ensuring that the Internet is always open, secure and reliable for Indians, the government will not hesitate. reluctance to act, repressing places where public interests are harmed.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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