New portal for grievances against decisions of social media platforms

(Last Updated On: March 2, 2023)

Guwahati: The Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has launched a new portal called Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) under the IT Rules 2021.

The portal will allow individuals who are dissatisfied with social media companies’ content takedown requests to be heard by one of the three committees constituted by the government. This marks a significant shift in how social media content is moderated in India.

Last year, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules were amended to require social media companies to respect all the rights accorded to citizens under the Constitution.

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The GACs were formed in January to receive complaints and will now be responsible for responding to appeals against takedowns from users. The decision of the Committees will be final, and the IT Rules require companies to comply with their orders.

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India is not the only country moving away from treating social media platforms as private intermediaries who can set their rules. The United States Supreme Court is also considering similar cases that could force platforms to open up their platforms to speech that they have restricted so far.

The IT Ministry is currently working on a “Digital India Bill” to provide statutory backing to the IT Rules and other digital lawmaking. However, no details of this proposed law have been released yet.

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