Draft amendments to IT Rules, 2021
GS Paper - 3 (ITC)
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has published a fresh draft of amendments to the Information Technology Rules, 2021, which proposes the creation of government-appointed appeal committees that will be able to veto content-moderation decisions taken by social media intermediaries like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
What are the proposed amendments to the IT Rules, 2021?
- The draft proposes to create government-appointed appeal committees that will be empowered to review and possibly reverse content moderation decisions taken by social media companies.
- The Central Government shall constitute one or more Grievance Appellate Committees, which shall consist of a Chairperson and such other Members, as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.
- What it essentially means is that in case a user is not satisfied with the content moderation decision taken by a company’s grievance officer, they can appeal that decision before the proposed government-appointed appeals committee.
- Every order passed by the Grievance Appellate Committee shall be complied with by the concerned intermediary. Currently, the only recourse a user has against companies’ content decisions is to approach the courts.
- Apart from this, the new proposal also suggests placing additional responsibilities on grievance officers appointed by social media companies.
- It says that if a user complains about content which is “patently false”, infringes copyright, and threatens the integrity of India, among other things, a grievance officer will have to expeditiously address it within 72 hours.
- Under current rules, grievance officers have 15 days to act on and dispose of users’ complaints.