Government Amends IT Rules to Set Up Grievance Appellate Panels for Social Media

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The government on Friday tweaked IT rules to pave way for setting up of grievance appellate panels, which will settle issues that users may have against the way social media platforms initially addressed their complaints regarding content and other matters.

These committees will be able to review content moderation decisions by social media companies like Meta and Twitter.

The ‘Grievance Appellate Committees’ will be set up within three months, according to a gazette notification on Friday.

Incidentally, the move comes at a time when the CEO of electric car maker Tesla, Elon Musk, has completed his $44 billion (nearly Rs. 3,62,300 crore) takeover of Twitter, placing the world’s richest man at the helm of one of most influential social media apps in the world.

The IT rules changes have been in the works for months, though, ever since users red-flagged instances of digital platforms acting arbitrarily. The latest move will arm the users with a grievance appeal mechanism in the form of appellate committees that will look into complaints filed by individuals against decisions of grievance officers of social media platforms.

The amendement to IT rules were notified on Friday.

“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 consist of a chairperson and two whole-time members appointed by the central government, of which one will be a member ex-officio and two shall be independent members.

“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 deal with such appeal “expeditiously” and make an endeavour to resolve the appeal finally within thirty calendar days from the date of receipt of the appeal. 


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