MoS IT Chandrasekhar launches Grievance Appellate Committee for safe internet

by IANS |

New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) In a bid to empower millions of Indian social media users, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, on Tuesday launched the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) that will look into their concerns regarding content and other issues.

The IT Ministry last month notified to establish three Grievance Appellate Committees (GACs) as required under the recently amended IT Rules, 2021.

"The move is to make sure that the internet remains open and safe for users in the country. These are early days for the committee and it will keep evolving as days progress," the minister told reporters here.

The announcement came in the presence of representatives of Big Tech internet companies like Meta, Snap, Google and others.

The newly-formed panel, a move to strengthen the country's digital laws to tame the Big Tech companies, will look into appeals by users against decisions of social media platforms.

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.

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.

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