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India’s IT Rules: Controversial social media grievance committee proposal to go ahead

India plans to go ahead proposal to appoint a grievance appellate committee (GAC) to address user complaints against social media platforms

What's the news: The Indian government plans to go ahead with its proposal to appoint a grievance appellate committee (GAC) to address user complaints against social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Economic Times reported on September 27. Additionally, the government will also require platforms to address serious complaints such as those related to nudity and child abuse within stricter timelines, the report added. “In many cases, social media platforms don't act on complaints, the user has no recourse apart from going to the court which is a time (consuming) process, so this had to be addressed in some way," an unnamed source told ET. What are these proposed rules: In June, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) proposed changes to the IT Rules, 2021. Among these changes is the creation of a new government-appointed GAC that can override the decisions of resident grievance officers that significant social media intermediaries are required to appoint as per IT Rules 2021. Why does this matter: Tech companies and civil society activists are not happy with the proposed GAC for various reasons, mainly because it could lead to the stifling of freedom of speech and expression. There were multiple other alternatives proposed including a self-regulatory organisation (SRO) made up of industry stakeholders or an internal appellate committee, but it looks like the Indian government isn't going to back down from its original idea. Read: How Will The Proposed Amendments To The IT Rules Affect Free Speech And Intermediaries? Why the SRO model might not work out:…

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