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MoS IT launches Grievance Appellate Committee to ensure safe internet

IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar launched a grievance appellate panel mechanism, that will look into appeals by users against decisions of social media platforms. The announcement came in the presence of representatives of Big Tech internet companies like Meta, Snap, Google and others.

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Significance of The Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC):

The digital platform, Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC), is a powerful tool for ensuring accountability of platforms to their users, Chandrasekhar, who is the minister of state for IT.

“This is one more milestone in the evolving framework to ensure internet is open, safe and trusted,” he said.

Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) and Its Functions:

  • The GACs will function as a “traffic signpost” on the Internet. Every GAC will have three members.
  • The need for such panels arose due to large numbers of grievances being left unaddressed or unsatisfactorily addressed by Internet Intermediaries.
  • The GACs are expected to create a culture of responsiveness among all Internet Platforms and Intermediaries towards their consumers.
  • Users will have the option to appeal against the decision of the grievance officer of the social media intermediaries and other online intermediaries before this new appellate body.
  • The Committee will endeavour to address the users’ appeal within a stipulated period of 30 days.
  • The GAC is a critical piece of overall policy and legal framework to ensure that the Internet in India is open, safe, trusted and accountable.
  • The GAC will be a virtual Digital platform that will operate only online and digitally — wherein the entire appeal process, from filing of appeal to the decision thereof, shall be conducted digitally.

IT Rules and Social Media:

IT rules had been strengthened in October to pave the way for formation of the Centre-appointed panels to settle often-ignored user grievances against the way social media platforms addressed their complaints regarding content and other matters.

Under the IT Rules, social media intermediaries like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp are already required to have a Grievance Officer to whom users may complain about any violation of the Rules.

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