Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 25 February 2023

Centre sets up panels for complaints against online platforms

Source: By Soumyarendra Barik: The Indian Express

The Centre has notified the formation of three grievance appellate committees that will address users’ complaints against social media and other internet-based platforms, including being empowered to oversee and revoke content moderation-related decisions taken by these platforms.

Three GACs and their composition

According to the notification, issued late 27 January 2023 night, each of the three grievances appellate committees (GACs) will have a chairperson, two whole-time members from different government entities, and retired senior executives from the industry for a term of three years from the date of assumption of office.

The first panel will be chaired by the chief executive officer of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Ashutosh Shukla, and Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) former chief general manager and chief information officer Sunil Soni have been appointed as the whole-time members of the panel.

The second panel will be chaired by the joint secretary in charge of the Policy and Administration Division in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Indian Navy’s retired Commodore Sunil Kumar Gupta, and Kavindra Sharma, the former vice-president (consulting) of L&T Infotech, have been appointed as the whole-time members of this panel.

The third panel will be chaired by Kavita Bhatia, a senior scientist at the Ministry of Electronics and IT. Former traffic service officer of the Indian Railways Sanjay Goel, and former managing director and chief executive officer of IDBI Intech Krishnagiri Ragothamarao have been appointed whole-time members of the third panel.

The role of the panels

In October last year, the government notified that it will start the process of selecting GACs amid criticism from civil society activists, who had raised concerns about the government’s involvement in the appeals process. The government had initially said that it would be open to social media companies setting up a self regulatory body provided that it found the body’s functioning satisfactory.

What the changes essentially mean is that in case a user is not satisfied with the content moderation decision taken by a social company’s grievance officer, they can appeal that decision before the proposed government-appointed appeals committee. The government’s initial proposal had stemmed from users’ complaints about being deplatformed, or being removed from social media sites, without companies giving them an adequate avenue of hearing.

GACs can also seek assistance from people who may have adequate expertise and experience in a subject matter while dealing with users’ appeals. The GACs will adopt an “online dispute resolution mechanism” where the entire appeal process, from its filing to the final decision, will be done online. Social media companies will also have to compile every order passed by the GACs and report them on their respective websites.

Any person aggrieved by a decision of the grievance officer of a social media intermediary will be allowed to file an appeal to the GAC within a period of 30 days. The GAC will have to deal with the appeal and resolve it within a month of the receipt of the appeal.

Keeping in view the transition period required for the intermediaries as per their requests and technical requirements, the GACs’ online platform will be operational from 1 March 2023.


2521, Hudson Lane Vijay Nagar,
Near GTB Nagar Metro Station,
Ph.: 97173 80832 | 88605 88805

More Details

Plot No. 48, 1st & 2nd Floor,
Behind Sargam Talkies, Zone 2,
M.P Nagar, Bhopal
Ph.: 75099 75361 | 91798 95361

More Details

111-117, 1st Floor, Veda Building,
Bhawar Kuan Square,
Ph.: 98937 72941 | 0731-497 7441

More Details

A1, 2nd Floor, Mamoor Plaza
Above Airtel Office, 2nd Cross Road, 
5th Block, Koramangala, Bengaluru
Ph.: 76191 66663 | 080-4854 4393

More Details

56/4 G. Floor & 32, Old Rajendra Nagar, 
Bada bazaar Road, Near Salwan Public School, 
Gate No.2, Delhi
Ph.: 98112 93743 | 011-4517 0303

More Details

Office No. 42, 2nd Floor, 
OM HEERA PANNA Co-op. Society,
Opp. City International School, Oshiwara,
Jogeshwari (West), Mumbai – 400 102
Ph. 98712 65599 | 882600 2521

More Details

2nd Floor keisamthong Hodam Leirak
Thoudabhabok Machin, 
Imphal West,
Ph.: 96502 45599

More Details

4th Floor, Chinar Heights, 
Near Chinar Colony, Baghat
Dist- Srinagar, J&K- 190005
Ph.: 9871235599

More Details

403-404, Apex Tower,
Lal Kothi, Tonk Road,
Ph.: 82908 00441 | 0141-4052 441

More Details

Above Toyota Showroom,
Exhibition Road, 
Near Gandhi Maidan, Patna
Ph.: 74639 50774 | 0612- 2500 961

More Detail

College More, PTI Building
2nd Floor, Sector - V, Salt Lake
Kolkata, West Bengal 700091
Ph.: 9007709895

More Details

2nd floor, Houses No: 3-6-111/7&6,
Above PUMA Showroom,
Liberty Main Road, Himayatnagar,
Hyderabad – 500 029
Ph. 79960 66663 | 882600 2521

More Details