Draft amendments to IT Rules 2021
- 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..
- 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.
- 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.
What prompted the amendments?
- Constitutional rights of Indian citizens are not contravened by any big tech platform by ensuring new accountability standards.
- The IT Rules, 2021 provide for a robust grievance redressal mechanism.
- However, there have been many instances that grievance officers of intermediaries either do not address the grievances satisfactorily and/or fairly.
- In such a scenario, the need for an appellate forum has been proposed to protect the rights and interests of users.
- As per the IT Rules, 2021, that came into effect last year, social media companies like Facebook and Twitter are mandated to appoint India-based resident grievance officers as part of their due diligence as ‘intermediaries’ who enjoy legal immunity from third-party content on their platform.
- These officers are responsible for overseeing the grievance redressal mechanism of complaints from the people who use their services.
Have there been concerns raised around the proposals?
- The proposal to set up government-appointed committees has triggered concerns about the government overriding social media platforms’ content decisions.
- Reacting to the proposal while it was made in the last draft,
- Delhi-based digital rights group Internet Freedom Foundation had said, “The proposal, without any legislative basis, seeks to subject content on social media to the direct scrutiny of the government by permitting users to appeal decisions of social media platforms to a Grievance Appellate Committee constituted by MeitY”.
Visit Abhiyan PEDIA (One of the Most Followed / Recommended) for UPSC Revisions: Click Here
IAS Abhiyan is now on Telegram: Click on the Below link to Join our Channels to stay Updated
IAS Abhiyan Official: Click Here to Join
For UPSC Mains Value Edition (Facts, Quotes, Best Practices, Case Studies): Click Here to Join